By Chinedu Eze
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has expressed worry over the current state of Nigeria’s international airports, including the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos; Mallam Aminu Kano International airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, saying the airports have suffered serious neglect and infrastructural decay over the years.
The outgoing National President of NANTA, Alhaji Aminu Agoha, who made the observation after stakeholders meeting in Lagos recently said the poor state of the airports, prompted the plan by major foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to withdraw their operations.
But in a swift reaction, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has denied that the airports are in deplorable condition, insisting that the NANTA’s observation was exaggerated.
According to spokesman of the NCAA, Yakubu Dati, construction work is going on at the airports mentioned and new terminals are being built at those airports, which would come on stream later in the year. He said that no international airline has given indication to leave Nigeria due to poor facilities at the airport; rather some of the airlines are increasing frequencies into the country.
NANTA also faulted the international airlines for the higher fares in Nigeria compared to what they charge in other countries in Africa.
’’The disparity in fares is alarming and we wonder why Nigeria should be singled out for this rip-off. We see no reason why a flight ticket from Accra, Ghana to Europe or USA on some airlines would be cheaper than from Lagos to the same destinations on the same airline. For instance, a first class ticket to Las Vegas from Lagos is N1.8 million more than a first class ticket to the same destination from Accra! Nigerian travellers are now developing Ghanaian economy. These travel agencies are making huge sales from the Nigerian travelers while most of our Nigerian agencies are folding up,” Agoha said.
He said before the current monetary policy in Nigeria, there was an increased influx of foreign airlines into the Nigerian market, noting that ordinarily, this should depict great revenue potential for Nigerian travel agents, but this however was not the case.