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18 months after, foreign airlines release low tickets

Passengers and travel agents are now heaving a sigh of relief as foreign airlines operating into the country have released low-inventory tickets, Daily Trust’s findings…

Passengers and travel agents are now heaving a sigh of relief as foreign airlines operating into the country have released low-inventory tickets, Daily Trust’s findings have shown.

This was made possible through the intervention of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which made a move to halt what it called the “spiralling cost of air tickets.”

Our correspondent reports that Nigerian passengers have been groaning over high fares on the international routes as foreign airlines suspended sale of cheap economy tickets over trapped funds.

This explains why ticket prices in Nigeria are more expensive compared to other neighbouring countries like Ghana, Cotonou, Sierra Leone, among others.

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Travel agents under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) had protested against the continued blockage of low inventory tickets.

The Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Najomo, had set up a 10-man committee to look into the high cost of tickets in the country.

The committee came after a two-day high-level meeting held between NCAA and foreign airlines in Nigeria on the urgent need to unblock all low inventory tickets which were hitherto blocked for over 18 months.

The 10-man committee chaired by Director of Special Duties of NCAA, Mr Horatius Egua, was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the foreign airlines fully comply with the directives of the government to unblock all low inventory tickets as well as recommend appropriate pricing of tickets in Nigeria compared to similar markets in the West African sub-region.

It would be recalled that the NCAA Director General, represented by the Director of Special Duties at a meeting with the foreign airlines recently stated that in the last several months, Nigerians have been made to pay higher fares on international flights unjustly, saying, “All the foreign airlines increased their flight tickets astronomically citing the high exchange rate as well as other sundry issues and also deliberately blocked low inventory tickets making travel unbearable for Nigerians.

“This is very discriminatory in nature. We cannot continue to pay higher fares compared to other countries in the sub-region that have similar distances, using the same operating aircraft. We have the market and, in some cases, we have more liberal taxes? This is unacceptable and we totally reject this.

“For instance, a distance of six hours from Ghana to London may sometimes cost about $800 while a similar distance with similar operating aircraft cost over $2000 in Nigeria. This is discriminatory and an unfair practice and we reject this in totality,” he said.

Following the instruction of the authority, the DG in a statement confirmed that Lufthansa German Airlines, KLM, Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, and Turkish Airlines have all released all categories of low inventory tickets while Air France has failed to comply with the directives.

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