The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has said that they have no hand in the exchange rate applied to international flight tickets sold in Nigeria.
This is as the chairperson Senate committee on Aviation, Biodun Olujimi said that the high increase of air fares by airlines operators is worrisome and an impediment to the growth of Nigeria’s aviation sector.
The International Transport Association insisted that, it is incorrect to describe them as the “IATA exchange rate”.
IATA in a statement issued Monday morning said, “the exchange rate applied to international flight tickets sold in Nigeria are not determined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and it is incorrect to describe them as the “IATA exchange rate”.
The chairperson Senate committee on Aviation, Biodun Olujimi, who stated this during the 2nd edition of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), national conference, with the theme: ‘Sustainability of the Aviation Industry in Nigeria, held on a Monday in Abuja, also lamented the poor implementation of aviation policies in the country.
Speaking on the economic and international benefits of the aviation sector, Olujimi urged the federal government to as a matter of urgency, halt further encroachment of airport facilities which according to her was having a negative toll on the growth of the sector.
On the recent crisis between the federal government and the aviation workers, she said that it was unnecessary and called on aggrieved parties to resolve their differences behind closed doors.
According to her, “Picketing is what I find very unnerving in all of this, because there should be a way whereby the workers associations and the federal government can settle all their grievances without bringing it to the fore.
“And most of the issues that were put on the front burner were already settled and sealed by the various agencies.
There was no reason to stop the aviation industry to put them in a very bad stand with their counterparts abroad by ensuring that people did the work of flight didn’t take off. I think the time is right for the NLC and the workers unions to know that there are certain industries where picketing cannot be allowed and aviation is one.
“The aviation industry, as you know, comprises various activities that are strategic, not only for its potential for economic growth but also its crucial role in international development and integration. The most important contribution aviation makes to the economy is through its impact on the performance of all our industries of our civilisation.”
Also speaking, the managing director, FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu, said the conference was aimed at furthering partnership and sustainability, as part of efforts to mitigate challenges hampering the aviation sector.
He said: “This conference would continue to serve as an open market, or meeting point for the private sector to tap into a world of opportunities to invest and generate incredible returns on their investments. We are happy that some state governments and private investors, who participated at the maiden edition of this conference are already taking good advantage of the business opportunities available in the industry, and are already positioning their States and organizations strategically for greater productivity and profitability.”
Also speaking, the minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, represented by the ministry’s permanent secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, said that under the Buhari-led administration, the ministry has achieved remarkable growth in the aviation roadmap.
Meanwhile, according to the international aviation body “Air fares for international flights from Nigeria are denominated in US Dollars and converted into Naira, the local currency, for sale in the Nigerian market. These conversions use the official prevailing exchange rate provided by the country financial system”.
IATA clarified that what they do is to simply apply the spot rate at which the Central Bank of Nigeria sells USD through banks to the market, at its fortnightly retail foreign exchange auctions.
“The rate is not static, i.e. if the rate at which the CBN sells USD goes up, the exchange rate applied to airfares will follow and vice versa”, IATA stated.