The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised all intending travellers to stop patronising unregistered travel agents, who allegedly defraud air passengers estimated at N1 billion annually.
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NCAA, which issued the warning in Lagos on Sunday, said that it has to wade into this problem due to hundreds of reports it has received in recent times.
The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA) had recently raised an alarm over the number of Nigerians who have fallen victims to these illegal travelling agencies that issue dud flight tickets and reservation papers and collect money from travellers without paying the airlines.
NANTA has also introduced identity cards for genuine operators who are also members of the association in order to eliminate the operations of the unregistered travel agents.
“The Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, Part 18.9.1 (111), prohibits the undertaking of the business of travel agency by any person in Nigeria, without a Certificate of Registration or Licence issued by the Authority, upon fulfilment of certain requirements, including, that an applicant submits evidence of membership of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agents (NANTA),” NCAA said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye.
The regulatory authority also noted that in addition, Section 30 (4) of the Civil Aviation Act 2006 empowers the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to regulate, supervise and monitor the activities of travel agents in Nigeria.
“Consequent upon these reports of sharp practices by unregistered travel agencies, the Authority has therefore directed all duly registered travel agencies to display their certificates of registration or licences in all their outlets. There are 150 of travel agencies on the register of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,” the statement said.
NCAA said there are guidelines for registration with the authority, noting that applicants must fulfil both the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and NCAA requirements to be registered.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority therefore reiterates that prospective passengers should do business only with travel agencies registered with the regulatory authority,” the statement also said.
Lamenting the activities of the illegal travel agent operators, the NANTA President Bankole Bernard recently explained that the identity card would give stakeholders and travellers the ability to identify who are the real practitioners.
“People get to the airport and they realise that what they have with them is reservation papers and that they have lost their monies; therefore, we felt this must not continue and we must put a stop to it,” Bernard said.