Foreign Airlines to begin sale of tickets in dollar in Nigeria

Some foreign airlines operating in Nigeria will effective April 19 commence the sale of their tickets in dollar amid the worsening shortage of foreign exchange in the country.

These international airlines are on APG Interline Electronic Ticketing Agreements GP code 275 (APG IET Platform).

The group had said this is in response to the difficulty in repatriating airlines’ funds stuck in Nigeria and other countries, coupled with foreign exchange fluctuations.

Foreign airlines unremitted ticket sale proceeds trapped in Nigeria reportedly reached $283m (about N116.87bn) recently.

APG in a travel advisory to its trade partners, titled, “APG IET: Restrictions of Sales in US Dollars”,  said, “Dear travel partners, warm greetings from APG. This is to bring to your notice that with effect from April 19, 2022, GP would only accept issuing of tickets in US dollars and not naira.

“This is mainly due to repatriation issues and the forex situation in the country. This would most likely be a temporary measure till the forex situation improves. Our sincere apologies for any inconveniences this may cause to you and your business. Thank you for understanding.”

Some of the airlines on the APG IET platforms include South African Airways, South African Airways, Fly Dubai, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Rwanda Air, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, French Bee, Egypt Air, ASKY, Air Seychelles, Air Algerie, and Air Namibia.

Others are Air Panama, Air Burkina, Avianca, Bangkok Airways, Cabo Verde Airlines, Fiji Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, and Malaysian Air amongst others.

South Africa Airways, Turkish Airlines, Asky Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Air Maroc, Middle East Airlines, Rwanda Air and Kenya Airways fly directly into Nigeria.

Recently Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation had asked the Federal Government to facilitate the repatriation of ticket sales proceeds trapped in Nigeria.

Sirika said, “Aviation business suffers from issues of foreign exchange by local and foreign airlines and their inability to repatriate blocked funds. Nigeria currently holds $283mn worth of foreign airlines fund in the country. I humbly ask for the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria through the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, to aid access of both local and foreign airlines to foreign exchange.”

The Director-General, International Air Transport Association, Willie Walsh, said “Blocked airlines funds are pretty high in Africa. I think it is about $601m in Africa across 17 countries. It is very much a case of Africa as a continent probably having the most blocked funds around the world.”

Walsh had said this trapping of international airline revenues contravenes international conventions and is capable of slowing the recovery of the aviation industry from the Covid-19 crisis.

This plan by international airlines may exacerbate the challenges faced by Nigerian travellers who may be required to source forex from the parallel market to purchase their tickets.