Foreign airlines operating in the country last year amassed over N503.3 billion ($1.4 billion) in travel ticket sales alone.
The estimated sum shows stability in the international traffic when compared to figures of 2017. Travel agencies, who hinted of this record, attributed the turnover to improved capacity among the airlines.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has bemoaned government’s perennial neglect of the travel agencies, and the bid to sanitise the sub-sector.
President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole, said business in 2018 recorded a marginal growth despite economic issues of 2017 that spilled over to 2018 and could have led to a decline.
However, by the second quarter, all the airlines with smaller aircraft had raised capacity to accommodate traffic.
“The inventory is significant for the marginal improvement recorded. In 2017, we made sales of $1.4 billion. In 2018, we sold $1.4 billion with some fractions. The exact amount will be made known by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) by the end of January,” he said.
It will be recalled the about four million international passengers were recorded in 2017, with N503.3 billion made in ticket sales.
IATA, the clearing house for over 280 airlines worldwide, had consistently made reference to economic stability in Nigeria, as important factor to stimulate aviation growth and traffic on the continent.
Bankole explained that the figures remain static given the lack of developmental policies in the sector; being the aftermath of government’s neglect of the industry, including the operations of the travel agencies.
The travel agencies in Nigeria, he said, played a pivotal role in the aviation industry that could not be undermined.
“Given the amount of technologies that are deployed around the world, travel agencies should have gone into extinction. But, we are still growing by the day, not only in Nigeria but in other countries as well.
“I can say categorically that most of the foreign airlines push their sales to the travel agencies to distribute on their behalf and we have been doing that effectively; getting their money. So, their business is not threatened in anyway and they are making their sales.
“So, in a way, the airlines have been able to cut cost to a very large extent by pushing their businesses to travel agencies to do. This is to the extent that some of them have appointed our members as the general sales agents, which reduce their cost of operations.