From Uche Usim, Abuja
Soothing news has come for the Nigerian traveling public as Safety Travels, a foremost indigenous company, has unveiled an updated App and website that offers Nigerians unfettered access to cheaper flights with the option to pay for flights via their naira Mastercard or Visacard, without credit limit on foreign exchange.
The development, described as a unique game changer in the air travel ecosystem, rides on an updated website and app that enhances global transactions in all G7 currencies and the naira; including enabling Nigerians purchase flight tickets at the official Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rate of N480 to a dollar. This is uniquely available for flight tickets originating from Nigeria. Users in other catchment areas get to pay in other forex currencies.
At a media interaction with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the General Manager of Safety Travels Limited, Joseph Agofuro, said the offerings ride on the company’s 35 years track record of being an International Air Transport Association licensee.
He added that the update comes following the developer Chidiebube Nwogu’s observation of challenges of the platform hosted on Amazon website which has issues catering to its West African customers, its dominant market. Nwogu proceeded to create an API, and website for the agency, and migrated the agency’s website and app from Amadeus server to the NASA deployed server host, Cloudfare.
“Airlines operate on the GDS system. In Nigeria, every agency and every airline operate 80 percent on the Amadeus system and Gallevios (the GDS points). What you see on BA is what you see on Amadeus. That is what every travel agency on IATA sees.
“When we kickstarted the app last year, we were using Permalex API. now, we have created our own API which even BA can buy from us, and which any bank selling API can integrate into it,” said Safety Travel, Managing Director, Uchenna Nwogu.
Working with the most secure server host, Cloudfare, the agency assures its global users secure card payments as it’s passed the UK scrutiny and stringent acceptance process for Stripe Payment to become a global platform with a 95 per cent rating on Google page for speed, security and accessibility.
Other unique selling points of the app include provision of seat allocation, checking-in, and visa provision services. It will further enable users to navigate COVID 19 procedures applicable to their intended destinations.
Addressing the advantages of the app for Nigerians, Digital marketer, developer and Server manager at African Independent Television (AIT), Matthew Bamidele said the new development saves Nigerians the stress of third-party payment system which incurs extra charges for local travelers, and Stripe Payment for first time travelers, and a secured payment system.
Your naira card will tell you that you have exceeded a limit when paying in foreign currency, so, you have to start buying foreign currencies and registering for an online bank you are unfamiliar with that can shutdown at any time. If you can pay with your say GTBank Mastercard or Visacard, you can pay at anytime, without having to deal with the $50 withdrawal limit on Master and Visa cards. That is unless you have a virtual card that pays in dollars, then you have to buy in black markets to load those cards, and those platforms have their own charging fees, causing the user to spend more. However, if you pay directly with your naira Mastercard and Visacard, which one can do with this app, it makes the process easier, not to mention, first time (outside Nigeria) travelers need not register for Stripe payment,” said Abidemi.
Users have described the app as user-friendly; as they are able to book their flights, make their payments and get their tickets, relieving them of the hassle of varieties of travel flights prices at different rates, and hiked travel fares.
“They can make payments from the comfort of their homes at any time and we have a support system that helps users make changes when necessary. The platforms are interactive, and flexible,” said the agency General Manager, Joseph Agofuro.
Founded 35 years ago by the developer’s grandmother, Safety Travel Agency’s updated website is fully functional, the app will be accessible on Google Playstore and IOS App Store within the shortest possible time.