THE President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Susan Akporiaye, says the operators had lost $550 million in revenue due to a drop in ticket sales and an increase in fuel prices.
Airline operators in Nigeria raised airfares due to the increase in the price of Jet A1 known as aviation fuel from N200 to about N1,000 per litre last year.
The hike in aviation fuel was driven by scarcity of the product after the Russia and Ukraine war disrupted the distribution of crude, forcing western countries to hoard the refined commodity.
This reduced the availability of JetA1 in the global market, and with Nigeria depending on the importation of the product, the impact was felt more by the domestic airline operators.
Following the rise in ticket prices, air passengers reduced their travelling or adopted road transportation.
Some Nigerians also travel by road to other African countries to book cheaper flights.
The NANTA president, who addressed journalists at a media briefing in Abuja, yesterday, stated that 720,000 had also lost their jobs in the sector.
Akporiaye said: “The situation at hand has made Nigerian travellers patronise agents in other African countries. Less than 30 percent of tickets sold in Nigeria were done by local agents, and with this, the Nigerian government is losing a lot of tax.
“To reduce the amount of money that would be trapped in Nigeria, the foreign airlines have also stopped local travel agents from issuing tickets emanating from other countries into Nigeria.”
She added that the exchange rate difference between the black and official markets was another challenge to the industry.
“Also, the shame of a parallel dollar monetary policy in the travel sector against established national naira monetary policy,” she lamented.
The NANTA president also criticised the politicians for snubbing the industry.
“We are also worried that none of our political parties has deemed it necessary to look at aviation economics, particularly, its homogeneous socio-economic and security opportunities.
“We advise the incoming government to follow up keenly on Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and other extant aviation laws which will open our economy to serious local and foreign investors, we also remain available for consultation,” Akporiaye concluded.