FG orders NCAA to sanction foreign airlines not selling tickets in Naira
By Favour Nnabugwu
The Federal Government has ordered the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA to sanction any international airlines that refuse to sell tickets in Naira.
The Government also said that the decision to float a national carrier, Nigerian Air is on course and that there is no going back
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, stated this at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Senator Sirika said intelligence reports indicated that some of the airlines are refusing naira and charging their ticket fares in dollars in violation of the nation’s laws, adding that some of the airlines have also blocked local travel agencies from accessing their websites for transactions.
The Minister stated that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) hss been directed to deal with any of such airlines that are wilfully breaching the country’s laws.
He noted that the foreign airlines have made over $1.1 billion from Nigeria from 2016, which could have been retained in the country if they were local airlines.
Sirika recalled that the airlines remitted over $600 million to their home countries in 2016 while over $265 million has also been released this year out of about $484 million due to them.
He said the government is trying to keep the airlines happy by ensuring that their money does not pile up again, saying that while the country needs their services, the airlines need the Nigerian market.
The Minister warned them to refrain from using the social media to press home their demands rather than resorting to the diplomatic channels.
On the Nigerian Air, he said that the project is a Public Private Partnership, PPP, which is guided by the Infrastructural Committee Regulatory Commission, adding that Nigeria is a candidate for national carrier.