The House of Representatives has intervened in the dispute between Nigeria and foreign airlines.
The meeting was chaired by Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, and attended by representatives of the airlines, International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), travel agencies and other aviation industry stakeholders.
In a statement issued by Lanre Lasisi, special adviser to Gbajabiamila on media and publicity, an understanding was reached at the meeting to find quick solutions to release the funds owed to the airlines.
Lasisi said AON made a strong case for the protection of the interests of Nigerian airlines in foreign countries, especially the issue of reciprocity in the number of
flight slots allocated to Nigerian operators in other countries compared to the high number foreign airlines enjoy in Nigeria.
“The meeting also discussed the disparity in ticket prices charged by the foreign airlines in Nigeria and other countries, with Nigerians paying higher even when the distance between Nigeria and the foreign country of destination is shorter when compared to the distance from other African countries,” the statement reads.
“The meeting, which also looked into the difficulty Nigerians face in accessing the portals of foreign airlines for flight bookings,
was later adjourned till Thursday, October 20 to get the input of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the ministry of foreign affairs on how to fast-track the release of the trapped funds.”
Gbajabiamila emphasised the need for all the parties to make a commitment to end the crisis by addressing the various issues raised, especially with regard to international flight operations.
The meeting is expected to reconvene on Thursday.
In August, IATA said foreign airlines’ funds trapped in Nigeria increased from $450 million in May to $464 million in July.
The CBN later released $265 million to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales