RwandAir lose N8b on Lagos-Dubai route due to fake entry visas
Though no arrests were made, it has been revealed that fake entry visas carried by Nigerians travelling to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, has cost an African carrier, RwandAir, a penalty in excess of $20 million (N8 billion) in the last six months.
Both fictitious online bookings and fake visas are considered as infractions that warrant penalty by international aviation rules guiding the Global Distribution System (GDS), and borne by the conveying airline.
GDS is a network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers (mainly airlines, hotels and car rental companies) and travel agencies. Multiple reservations also attract multiple charges against the airline.
For every passenger that arrives in Dubai without valid visa or forged papers and ultimately turned back at the port of entry, the airline pays a penalty of $30,000 (N1.2million) for the Advance Debit Memo (ADM) issued per passenger.
Besides, the airline is considering the withdrawal of its new Airbus 330-200 that was recently deployed to the Lagos route over low patronage, as recession is making it difficult to fill the 240-passenger capacity aircraft.
Before now, the Kigali-based airline is one of the foreign carriers making waves on the continent, with heavy reliance on Nigeria for its market. With Nigeria supplying the lion share of its total passenger supply for 2015, the airline had deployed two new A330-200s to the Lagos routes.
However, plans were in the offing to bring in the third aircraft this December for the passengers heading to China, India and other countries. A Sales Executive of RwandAir, Henry Aaron, said it was regrettable that the airline had paid $20 million from July till date for the mistakes the airline knows nothing about.
Aaron said the penalty imposed on the airline was due to the “smart activities” of its passengers and their cohorts in Dubai, who are playing all gimmicks to outwit the airline’s clearance to board.
Aaron explained that there are some “smart guys” in Dubai processing working visas for wiling Nigerians. At the point of booking, the visas are genuine, but would have been cancelled from the system and become fake before the passenger reached Dubai airport.
“It is a smart move. Once it is cancelled, the person has no way of entering. As an airline that has carried the passenger on a one-way ticket, for every case like that, we are charged $30,000 for each passenger. I also have to fly the person back to Nigeria for free. That is the problem,” he said.