The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced a new date it will commence the closure of some selected travel agencies despite being accredited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association of the world’s airlines. The shutdown is likely to affect over 400 travel agencies in Nigeria.
The Nigeran aviation regulator had threatened to shut-down some travel agencies on May 7, 2019, if they didn’t register and obtain a certificate of registration. The NCAA gave the companies 60 days to work on their documentation, but the regulator has now extended the timeframe.
The first ultimatum ended in July 2019. After the deadline elapsed, NCAA did not sanction the defaulters because of the controversies that arose. The organisation made the decision to postpone the shutdown until next year after a meeting with the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA).
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In Nigeria, there are over 600 travel agencies but only 149 of them are registered under the NCAA. A source said in a report that several agencies had begun to register their companies after the threat was issued in May.
The deadline has, however, been postponed to January 2, 2020. Also, IATA has been informed not to accredit any travel agency that is not certified by Nigeria’s aviation authority.
Meanwhile, the Director of Air Transport Regulation, NCAA, Group Capt. Edem Oyo-Ita (rtd) said only about 200 out of the over 600 travel agencies operating in Nigeria are registered with NANTA. Registering under NANTA is also a requirement for accreditation by the NCAA.
NCAA to blame: The NCAA is to be blamed for the lackadaisical attitude of the travel agencies towards following registration guidelines. According to Oyo-Ita, the NCAA has been poor in effecting regulations for the travel agencies, admitting that the downstream sector of the aviation hasn’t been cared for properly.
“We take the blame that we may be poor in our regulations in the downstream sector of aviation which has not been adequately taken care of in the past years but it is mandatory that all travel agencies must be registered with the NCAA and NANTA.”
Uncertified agencies are bad for business: While the President of NANTA, Bankole Bernard, urged the NCAA to pay more attention to the travel agencies, he revealed that unregistered travel agencies were affecting business for the NCAA-certified companies.
According to Bernard, the infiltration of uncertified agencies had led to the shutdown of some travel agencies in the past.