Home » Africa: Airlines ticket sales in Nigerian aviation decline by $132 million Q1 2020 as NANTA accuse CBN on access to forex

Africa: Airlines ticket sales in Nigerian aviation decline by $132 million Q1 2020 as NANTA accuse CBN on access to forex

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Still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on air travel in the country, the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), has said total tickets sold for the first quarter of 2020 decreased by $132 million.

This is just as the agency accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), of denying them forex for the payment of their annual dues to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

According to NANTA, the decrease in ticket sales is a sharp reduction of $282.35 million sold Q1 2019 by foreign carriers that operated in and out of the country.

A data NANTA, captioned, “BSP Nigeria-R &S Monthly Reports-Market Data April 2020”, a breakdown of the figure shows that $57.79 million worth of tickets were sold in January 2019 alone.

According to aviationmetric.com, Ticket sales figures for February of the same year stood at $51.52 million; March $80.55 million; April $92.59 million bringing the total to $286.36 million.

In contrast, January 2020 figure was regarded as the best month for air travel and one that surpassed the expectations of travel agents and other catalytic interests in aviation and travel industry as the month saw high travel demand that amounted to $70.03 million.

February 2020 saw ticket sales of $59.16 million; March figure stood at $23.26 million when the COVID-19 pandemic got to its peak and nations started closing their borders including restrictions that crippled travels.

April 2020 saw a sharp decline of air travel as tickets sold amounted to $-1.36, a deficit for that month as the BSP recorded more refunds than new sales in April. As a result of that, the month of April became negative.

The total tickets sold for first quarter 2020 decreased to $151 million.

President, NANTA, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye at a press conference lamented that the COVID-19 brought the entire sector to a halt, stressing that January 2020 was one of the best months for aviation because of huge sales made by foreign carriers.

She said the sales had never happened in recent times because first quarter of every year is usually slow for business but expressed joy that the month was good.

Akporiaye further stated that February of last year was also good till second week in March when nations started taking measures to limit the spread of coronavirus by shutting borders.
According to her, “The whole of last year, especially from March was a difficult year as we have never had it so bad. Even the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently disclosed that 2020 was worst year for aviation in many years.

“Surprisingly, January 2020 was the best month for aviation in Nigeria in recent years. January of every year is usually very difficult for travel. First quarter is usually slow for business but January 2020 was a windfall followed by the month of February. After March 2020, the industry took a tumble for the worst because of COVID-19”.

On access of forex, the NANTA said for over three months, they were yet to source forex of $56—$60,000 to meet their statutory obligations to the international travel body.

According to radionigeria.gov.ng, She stated that agency made a loss of minus $1.38 million in April 2020.

Akporiaye stressed that genuine businesses should not be starved of forex by the Central Bank of Nigeria but rather facilitate the timely release of such funds for the sustainability of the business.

According to her, NANTA risks the termination of their licenses if their annual dues are not remitted as at when due to the International Air Transport Association, IATA through their bank.

She stated that IATA had been notified of the development and had given them a time limit to remit their dues or risks the termination of their licenses.

NANTA’s Financial Secretary, Mr. Daisi Olotu expressed the Association’s disappointment at the CBN’s response to their request for foreign exchange, adding that out of $56,000 requested they have been given $2,000 and $4,000 in batches.

NANTA said it has set up a committee to determine the sharing formular for the N196 million palliative granted its members by the Ministry of Aviation.

The umbrella body of travel agencies in the country, also reiterated that only financially up-to-date members and approved by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) would benefit from the largesse.

NANTA, said that the approved sum would go a long way to enhance the financial status of its members and commended Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation for the gesture and recognition.

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