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Nigeria Loses $500m Yearly to Foreign Airlines’ Exploitative Fares, NANTA Alleges
Chinedu Eze and Oluchi Chibuzor
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has cried out that the deliberate suffocating practices of foreign airlines operating in the country have lost 720,000 jobs since 2021 and $500 million yearly.
NANTA accused the foreign airlines of hiding under trapped funds to rip-off Nigerians with high fares and wreak havoc in the nation’s economy; even when most of them sell tickets in dollars to Nigerian travellers.
The travel association said that between 2021 and 2023, businesses in the travel and tourism sector have lost over 720,000 jobs as a result of the unscrupulous activities of the foreign carriers.
Explaining the practices, NANTA said its findings showed that most of the foreign airlines have mastered the art of exploiting the forex challenges to their advantage by removing all low-fare inventories from Nigeria and transferring them to neighbouring countries.
This, according to the association, has enabled most of the neighbouring countries to earn more revenues, which ought to have come to the federal government in terms of taxes and charges.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the President of NANTA, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye said the ongoing unfavourable situation, which is inimical to Nigeria’s economy, is bedeviling the downstream sector of the aviation industry.
She stated that it is only in Nigeria that an economy ticket is sold for N3 million, adding these exploitative fares have crippled travel agents businesses and forced Nigerians to travel across the nation’s borders at huge security risk to connect cheaper flights to international destinations.
“As we speak, it is only in Nigeria that a traveler is made to cough out over $2,000 for an economy ticket and if a passenger wants to change the date of the flight itinerary for whatever personal reasons would be made to pay about N1.5 million to N1.8 million. To put this in perspective, all low-fare inventories of the airlines have been deliberately blocked to our members and to this market. Airlines, even after various engagements as partners, have seemed not to take such relationship or business history with NANTA into consideration, rather have gone ahead to make the market extremely difficult for members and in effect expensive for travelers. This now means Nigeria is at a disadvantage since the airlines seem to have mastered the art of exploiting the forex market to their advantage,” Akporiaye said.