Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has said the regulatory authority is not aware of any reported case of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria charging Nigerian passengers dollars instead of Naira the official currency of the country. Investigations by Vanguard revealed that most of the Public relation consultants of the foreign airlines operating in Nigeria are not aware of this development also.
The Media Executive, JSP Communications, Ijeoma Okolie, media consultants to Emirate Airlines, said she is not aware of the airline charging fares in dollars and compelling Nigerian passengers to also pay in foreign currencies. Reacting to Vanguard enquiry, Manager, Public Relation, NCAA, Muhammed Jimoh, said the agency was not aware of foreign airlines demanding dollars as air fare from Nigerian passengers. And there has not been any reported case It will be recalled that there has be speculations that some foreign airlines have concluded plans to quote and receive payment for tickets only in the United States dollars.
The speculation is fueled by the inability of the foreign airlines to repatriate funds out of the country due to scarcity of the US currency. They claimed that over $2 billion of foreign airlines’ debts have been trapped in the country since October last year, a situation that has affected their operations. The airlines hinted that the new policy on forex by Nigeria could hinder them from transferring their salaries to their respective home countries.
However, according to stakeholders, a weekly clearance plan for the blocked funds has been put in place by the authorities. This, they said, has had very limited impact on the backlog of funds trapped in the country. Consequently, some of the airlines’ booking and payment platforms, particularly, that of Delta and United Airlines’ could not be accessed as intending passengers could only pay directly in the airline’s offices or pay outside the shores of Nigeria.
This development , according to the speculation, has rattled Travel Management Companies (TMCs) who said passengers, who usually patronise them for their travel needs, called endlessly for assistance. “For instance, passengers in Nigeria, who intended to travel to New York via Delta Air, made frantic efforts to make payment, but all to no avail.” 4 0 1
Source: Vanguard Nigeria