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.
According to APG, the difficulty in repatriating airlines’ funds stuck in Nigeria and other countries, coupled with foreign exchange fluctuation, is responsible for the new policy.
The airlines to effect the new policy are those on APG Interline Electronic Ticketing (IET) GP code 275.
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.
Airlines on the APG IET platform include South African Airways, Fly Dubai, Kenya Airways, Middle East Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, Rwandair, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, FrenchBee, EgyptAir, ASKY, Air Seychelles, Air Algerie and Air Namibia.
Air Panama, Air Burkina, Avianca, Bangkok Airways, Cabo Verde Airlines, Fiji Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Malaysian Air, alongside other carriers, also use the platform.
Some of these airlines which fly directly into Nigeria are South Africa Airways, Turkish Airlines, Asky Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Air Maroc, Middle East Airlines, Rwanda Air and Kenya Airways.