NCAA, NANTA move to sanitise travel industry
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday disclosed plans to stiffen the regulation and control of travel agencies in the country. It also mandated all agencies and agents to get registered forthwith.
The NCAA, in collaboration with the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), said the fresh measures when fully in operation would provide database, enhance monitoring of transactions and save travelling public from being duped.
The move was on the advice by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police urging air travellers against using credit cards for the purchase of air tickets to avoid being defrauded.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of the unit, Ibrahim Lamorde, gave the advice following the fleece of some air passengers of N2.3 million by suspected fraudsters who used stolen credit cards for such transactions. Similarly, a United States (U.S.)-resident lady was also alleged of defrauding several air travellers of N56 million in exchange for fake travel tickets.
Director-General of the NCAA, represented by the Director of Air Transport Regulations, Edem Oyo-Ita, who spoke at the presentation of the travel practitioners’ identification project to major aviation stakeholders in Lagos yesterday, said the travel business robs of on the image of the country with fraudsters putting Nigeria in bad picture.
He said the travel agencies’ sub-sector with over 6,000 entities, but about 10 per cent registered, would no longer be acceptable.
He added: “With a lot of Internet fraud and cybercrimes and people getting defrauded, everyone has to be identified. We are grateful for the identification project initiative. We have seen it demonstrated and we are happy with its prospect of curbing fraudulent practices,” Oyo-Ita said.
President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole, said it was regrettable that the economic downturn pushed every Tom, Dick and Harry into the downstream of air travel business that is highly specialised and professional.
“All they need is a laptop. The result is that a lot of passengers are at the end of the day stranded and the public calls all travel agencies and agents fraudulent. This is because we don’t know who-is-who.
“That is why all travel agents and agencies have to register with unique and renewable registration number on the platform of NANTA. And once the NCAA, Global Distribution System, airlines and travel agencies can agree, no one will be able to come in and defraud passengers,” Bankole said.
He said that in a bid to work out all requirements and accommodate concerns of the International Air Transport Association, and airlines and allow the NCAA decide sanctions, among others, the compliance date hitherto fixed for September 1, 2017, had been shifted to a later date.