NCAA issues 60 days ultimatum to unregistered agencies
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, issued a 60-day ultimatum to all travel agents on the platform of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to get registered with the apex regulator or face sanction.The body said the demand for NCAA’s certificate of registration is in line with the laws and remains mandatory.
In the interim, NCAA has also directed IATA not to accredit any agency without NCAA’s certificate of registration.The development apparently puts to rest a row over the imperative of registering with the NCAA and the National Association Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), to practice legally in the country.
The apex regulatory body, which is statutorily mandated to accredit travel agencies, lately said only 157 agencies have registered to date, with over 5000 others operating illegally. NANTA, in collaboration with NCAA, had also launched the Nigerian Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC), as part of the efforts to sanitise the industry.
General Manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said any travel agency operating in Nigeria, and yet to register with the NCAA is clearly violating extant Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.
“The controversy in certain quarters of absence of legislation concerning the registration of travel agencies is misguided. For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) confers power on NCAA to register and issue certificates to travel agencies without which no travel agency shall operate in Nigeria,” Adurogboye said.He made reference to part 18.9.1 (iii) of (Nig.CARs) that stated that no person shall undertake the business of travel agency in Nigeria without obtaining a certificate or license issued by the NCAA.
As a corollary to the fore, Part 126.96.36.199 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) 2015 states that all travel agencies shall register with the authority after fulfilling the necessary requirements specified in IS188.8.131.52 (iii) to these regulations.The Civil Aviation Act 2006, Part IX, Section 30 (4) (a) inter-alia empowers the authority to regulate, supervise and monitor the activities of travel and other aviation agents operating in Nigeria.
“To join the IATA BSP, Part 184.108.40.206. of the NCARs states that All registered Travel Agencies shall join and trade on IATA Billing and Settlement Procedures (BSP) platform.“It is important to note that the fulfillment of the aforementioned regulation Part 220.127.116.11 is a mandatory requirement for IATA to accept a travel agency on its BSP platform. However, it is after registration that a travel agent can commence business on the IATA BSP platform.
“The NCAA is, therefore, taking concerted steps to instill sanity and orderliness into the operations of travel agencies in Nigeria. The authority will be collaborating with IATA to provide a robust regulatory oversight on this sector of aviation downstream operations,” Adurogboye said.
President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole, said many were the challenges facing the downstream sector of aviation, and among them are the perennial negligence of their importance and infiltration by all Tom, Dick, and Harry. Bankole, however, did not spare the NCAA, saying the body had been too focused on the airlines, and left the travel agencies to their own rules.