N296m Refund: Travel Agents Drag Qatar Airways To Aviation Minister

The ongoing battle between 13 travel agents and Qatar Airways has taken another dimension as the agents have written a letter to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, appealing for his prompt intervention.

The agents in their letter obtained appealed to the minister to help secure a refund of unused Hajj tickets cumulatively put at N296m in the last two years.

It had been reported how 13 travel agencies and their clients drew a battle line with Qatar Airways for allegedly refusing to implement N296m ticket refund since 2022.

The hajj agents had purchased tickets from Qatar Airways for the 2022 hajj exercise, but the clients could not fly as planned because the Saudi Arabian Embassy refused to issue visas to the intending pilgrims.

Following the development, the Hajj operators demanded their ticket refunds.

Pilgrims had dragged some of the Hajj operators to the police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over failure to effect the ticket refund.

When the situation was reported to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, the agency noted that it was already mediating in the matter.

The spokesperson for the NCAA, Michael Achumugu, said the airline had refused to pay the agent.

In the agents’ latest letter to the minister, through their legal counsel, the agent complained that all efforts made for amicable resolution on the matter had hit brick walls.

The lawyer, however, appealed to the minister to use his “good office at ensuring their grievances with Qatar Airlines are favourably resolved with refunds to our clients”.

The lawyer further said, “Despite our numerous engagements, no refund has been made by Qatar Airways since 2022 while our people have continually suffered humiliation, harassment, intimidation, blackmail and prosecution by Nigerian Law enforcement agencies sequel to complaints from their respective depositors and clients whose monies are being stashed in the coffers of Qatar Airways.

“All related agencies of the government have been reached on our clients’ plight and we believe that your office being the major regulator of the aviation industry would aid our clients, being stakeholders in the Nigerian travel and tours industry in line with the extant regulatory legislation and provisions to protect the economic interest of the nation.”

The letter by the agents also expressed optimism in the leadership of the minister, praying that he help ensure all within his power to save them from humiliation


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