Despite the economic recession that caused a serious setback to the Nigerian economy in 2017, flight tickets worth $1.4 billion (N50 billion) were purchased by travelers who moved out of the country with foreign airlines in the year 2017.
President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mr. Bankole Bernard, who revealed this to journalists at the weekend in Lagos pointed out that the revenue generated by the foreign airlines confirmed claims and indices that Nigeria’s economy was on a rebound.
According to him, foreign airlines that hitherto cut back their operations and reduced their frequencies due to low passenger traffic in the country as a result of the recession have since increased their capacity.
The NANTA boss said it was high time the federal government reviewed its Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) in a way that it would also protect the interest of domestic airlines, adding that other countries introduced policies that encourage and protect their own local carriers.
He also hinted that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will soon introduce new system for financial settlement by travel agents to replace the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) introduced in Nigeria in 2008.
Bernard explained that IATA and NANTA had reinforced their relations, adding that the association now collects charges paid by members to the global body.
According to him, while this move would help to prevent non-professionals and touts from masquerading as travel agents, the association has decided to introduce identity card with electronic chips that would be used to separate the real practitioners from interlopers who are largely responsible for many frauds recorded in the sub-sector.
His words: “We, at NANTA, will be most delighted to see the ID Scheme come to reality when it’s launched in March for NANTA approved and NCAA (the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority) endorsed operators only. This would not only change the perception of the general public, but give a sense of belonging to the practitioners within the industry and be seen as true professionals that we are, which will automatically eliminate fraudsters.
“The immediate and future gains of this scheme are numerous and in due course, we shall unveil this strategic security product that will question and check the prowling of our business lines by fake and fly-by-night operators. Let me state earnestly that with this card, which has the backing of government aviation regulatory agencies, the days of spoilers in our midst are over”.
He also revealed that the association will soon have the NANTA Act, which would give legislative backing to the body.
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