By Daniel Eteghe
LAGOS—Arik Air Nigeria Limited has been suspended by International Air Transport Association, IATA, following the airline’s inability to comply with the agency’s banking requirement for Billing Settlement Plan, BSP.
The airline, which recently announced acquisition of two 747-8 Intercontinental airplanes valued at US N103 billion ($635 million), was sent packing from the billing house for what the body called “incompliance with IATA Banking requirement.”
In a notice to all the over 400-member airlines, travel and tickets agents in 160 countries throughout the world, IATA, yesterday, said,”due to incompliance with IATA Banking requirements for settlement purposes, we are to suspend all BSP operations for Arik Air.”
IATA directed all general sales agents, travel and ticketing agents to immediately remove ticketing authorities for the airline from their systems.
“BSP travel agents should immediately stop all ticketing and refunds transactions through the GDSs and BSP link and continue to remit funds to the BSP.”
It further said, “As soon as we have more information, we will communicate this to you.”
Arik Air joined the international agency’s BSP for Nigeria and Ghana in February this year, which facilitates access to all IATA accredited agents to sell the airline’s tickets through their outlets.
Apart from normal ticketing, passengers can buy other facilities and services of Arik Air, which include upgrade to a higher class, excess baggage tickets, airport lounge facility through any IATA accredited travel agents.
BSP is a system designed to facilitate and simplify selling, reporting and remitting procedures of IATA Accredited Passenger Sales Agents, as well as improve financial control and cash flow for BSP Airlines.
Media officer of the airline, Mr Adebanji Ola, who confirmed IATA’s action said the airline was suspended from routes where the airline does not operate because they do not have bank guarantees.
He said, “IATA is being mischievous. We do not have operations in the places where they suspended. We are still selling our tickets in other routes where we have operations, including places such as London and Johannesburg but places like Chad, Niger, Bukina Faso, Mali and Benin, there are no bank guarantees, so travel agents there cannot sell our tickets.”