Sell tickets in dollars get penalized, FG tells airline operators

The federal government has said it will penalize foreign airline operators if they sell flight tickets to Nigerians in dollars, insisting that such practice is a violation of Nigerian laws.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed this to journalists after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC meeting presided over by President Buhari in Abuja.

What did Sirika tell Journalists?

The aviation minister revealed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA has been instructed to swing into action by protecting the interest of Nigerians against malpractices, warning that it would not spare any violator found wanting, no matter how highly placed they may be.

Sirika said that government findings revealed that some of the airline operators refused naira and charged their ticket fares in dollars in violation of Nigerian laws.

“I want to use this opportunity to say that reports are reaching us that some of the airlines are refusing to sell tickets in naira. That is a violation of our local laws, they will not be allowed. The high and the mighty amongst them will be sanctioned if they are caught doing that” he told State House correspondents.  

Did he say anything about providing forex for airline operators?

Hadi Sirika also said the federal government is doing its best in trying to keep the airlines happy by ensuring that their money does not pile up, disclosing that the foreign airlines made over $1.1 billion from Nigeria in 2016, when president Buhari cleared the $600 million it inherited from the previous government.

He said over $ 265 million has been released this year out of about $484 million due to them, adding that while the country needs their services, the airlines need the Nigerian market.

What else did he say?

The minister warned the airline operators to stop using social media to press home their demands rather than resorting to diplomatic channels.

“…going forward, they should desist from doing things that are outside of the law. They should also desist from writing to us and putting things on social media. They should go through diplomatic channels if they want a response from the federal government.” He added.

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