The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman, has said the regulatory body will delist any travel agency that fail to register with the agency by the end of the year.
The NCAA said the registration was aimed at regularising the operations of travel agents in the country towards effective service to the public.
According to him, travel agencies cannot do business with International Air Transport Association (IATA) without registration.
The move, he said, was also aimed at eliminating fake travel agents that use the platform to swindle travellers, in the guise of selling flight tickets to them.
The Director General made this known at the weekend when officials of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) and the visiting Kenyan’s Association of Travel Agents (KATA) CEO and Treasurer, visited him in Lagos.
Usman noted that aviation was critical in the movement of people as well as for tourism. This, he said, was why it is a catalyst for the development of the economy of any nation.
He noted the need for Nigeria and Kenya to collaborate to develop aviation and tourism in both countries.
“In the spirit of Africa, there is need for collaboration to ensure that activities of travel agencies are regularised in the region so that air travel and tourism could be fully exploited for the economic growth of the continent.
“That is why we are carrying out the exercise to delist travel agencies that are not registered with NCCA by December, so that we can weed out bad eggs from the industry. It is of no doubt that travel agencies play a vital role in ensuring that travel facilitation is completed, so we would collaborate and remain cooperative to make sure Africa make best use of what it has,” he said.
Also, the Director, Consumer Protection (DCP), NCAA, Adamu Abdullahi, said there must be fairness and transparency in airline business as, “security is paramount when dealing with the public.”
“As a matter of fact, there is a process that is in place to weed out bad eggs as we have reached an agreement with IATA that by the end of the year, all travel agencies in Nigeria that have not registered with NCAA cannot do business with IATA,” he said.
However, the President of NANTA, Bankole Bernard, who welcomed the Kenya Association of Travel Agencies officials, said the tour of NCAA, Kenyan Airways and IATA offices in Lagos was imperative in view of the changing trends in doing travelling business across the world and the need to encourage professionalism within the travel industry.
“The need for collaboration in the travel industry is necessary in view of low level of professionalism within the continent and the changing trends in other to position various travelling agencies to benefit from the African trade act recently signed into law by the Nigerian government.
“We do hope that our NANTA bill will be enacted by the federal government as this would be beneficial to other countries that are yet to regularize their travel agency in the continent,” he explained.
On their part, the Chief Executive Officer, KATA, Nicanor Sabular and the Treasurer, Dr. Joseph Kthitu, said the visit afforded them the opportunity to learn from the NANTA on how it has forged good working relationship with the regulatory bodies in driving inclusive membership in the country.
On the African Trade Act, the KATA CEO noted that airlines are the key driver of the trade agreement, noting that airlines would play key roles in expanding opportunities within the continents.
“Unfortunately, we still see that local carriers are getting fewer and weaker. Then when we have weak and few air carriers Africa is disadvantaged, so we want to see an expansion of local carriers,” he said.
By Oluchi Chibuzor