APG Interline E-Ticketing (APG IET), an airline servicing firm, on Wednesday announced that it would begin sales of air tickets in U.S. dollars from April 19 amidst scarcity of foreign currency in Nigeria.

“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,” APG IET said in a travel advisory to its trade partners.

The group said the move became necessary due to the difficulty in repatriating airlines’ funds stuck in Nigeria and other countries, coupled with foreign exchange fluctuations.

“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,” the firm said.

This is coming less than three weeks after Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, asked the federal government to grant access to both local and foreign airlines to foreign exchange.

Trapped funds

Last month, Mr Sirika asked the Nigerian government to facilitate the repatriation of ticket sales proceeds trapped in Nigeria.

The minister said Nigeria currently holds $283 million worth of foreign airlines’ funds in the country.

“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 funds 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 minister said.

According to the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) with countries, airline tickets are mostly sold in naira while the airlines would repatriate the funds in dollars through the country’s central bank.

The federal government in 2018 cleared $600 million blocked funds but there has since been a backlog.

Analysts say the decision by the APG IET may worsen the challenges faced by air travellers in Nigeria who may have to source forex from the black market to purchase their tickets.

The notable carriers on the APG IET platforms include South African Airways, South African Airways, Fly Dubai, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Rwandair, 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.

Some of the carriers which fly directly into Nigeria are South Africa Airways, Turkish Airlines, Asky Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Air Maroc, Middle East Airlines, Rwandair and Kenya Airways.

Source: Premium Times

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