NCAA moves against fakery, to unveil licensed travel agencies
• NANTA, KATA deepen regional cooperation
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has disclosed plans to publish a list of licensed travel agencies in the country as part of measures to check illegal agencies and fakery nationwide.
The apex regulatory body, apparently peeved by excesses of illegal practitioners, will also set up a task force to clamp down on illegal operators that are not registered with the NCAA and the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA).
The move was disclosed when NANTA and delegates of Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) paid a courtesy visit to NCAA headquarters in Lagos recently.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation Act (2006) mandates travel agencies to register with the NCAA – the apex regulatory body for all service providers in the local aviation.
NANTA, in collaboration with NCAA, in June 2018 launched a mandatory Identification (ID) card scheme – the Nigeria Travel Practitioners Identification Card (NTPIC) – for travel agencies to protect the travel industry, guarantee public transaction safety and boost transparency. As at last year, only 157 out of over 6000 travel agencies were licensed by NCAA.
Director of Air Transport Regulation NCAA, Group Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita (rtd), said the rule is clear on mandatory registration of travel agencies in the industry for transparency, fairness and security in all dealings.
Oyo-Ita said NCAA had reached agreement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that all operating agencies must have registered with NCAA by the end of the year.
He said the high rate of illegal and sharp practices were quite disturbing and needed to be curbed. He noted that incidences of fraud; where agents collect fares but issue fake tickets, or tickets that have not been paid for, and tickets sold at exorbitant rates, were getting reported almost on daily basis, as he urged the public to beware.
President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole, said the NCAA’s licensing procedure requires the update of records with NANTA.
He told members at a forum that NANTA had gone ahead to partner with KATA and soon to join Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association (UFTAA) towards having a say in the policies of IATA.
“NANTA and KATA can collaborate to push a common frontier and draw strength. It is the beginning of good things to come,” Bankole said.
Chief Executive Officer of KATA, Nicanor Sabula, said Kenya would always appreciate the Nigerian market for helping her sustain Kenya Airways during hard times, adding that they would continue with the friendship.
Sabula said the partnership with NANTA would among others deliver value added to all members, while working together as a union to make the most of the African market.
“Air travel is growing but not so in Africa. What we need in Africa is to set aside the geopolitics and adopt liberalisation, without which even the single market arrangement will not work.
“Many Kenyans dream of coming to Nigeria, Cameroon and so on but the cost of travelling is huge. A travel of about four hours costs $800. We should be looking at the cost too.
“It is also import for our CAAs to work together, while the travel agencies also come. We have learnt from Nigeria the importance of working very closely with our regulators and we will domesticate that in Kenya,” he said.
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