As the festive season approaches, air travelers are grappling with escalating discomfort due to the soaring prices of tickets. A recent report by Daily Trust on Sunday reveals that one-way flight tickets can cost up to N200,000, contingent on the chosen route,Daily Trust reports.
An investigation conducted by our correspondent indicates that as the demand for seats intensifies in the lead-up to Christmas and New Year, ticket prices are experiencing a surge. The eastern routes, particularly flights to Enugu, witness ticket prices ranging from N171,000 to N200,000.
For flights to Port Harcourt, the base fare stands at N99,000 and is anticipated to rise to N138,000 with the increasing number of bookings. Traveling from Lagos to Owerri between December 5th comes with a price tag between N114,400 and N190,600 for a one-way economy ticket, reaching N238,200 for business class. Meanwhile, the base fare for Lagos to Calabar is set at N100,000.
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A 30-minute flight from Lagos to Ilorin in economy class currently costs between N100,000 and N143,000. The ticket for a Lagos to Sokoto flight is priced at N150,000, while a Lagos to Kaduna ticket starts at N143,000 as the base fare.
The report highlights a significant doubling of airfares within a year. The cost of an economy one-way ticket has surged from N50,000 (a 100% increase) to over N100,000 on some routes. Airlines attribute this spike to prevailing economic challenges, particularly the high cost of operation.
In 2022, airlines raised a one-way ticket to N50,000 from N30,000, sparking controversy within the travel industry. However, at present, the base fare for a one-way economy ticket hovers around N80,000.
Factors contributing to the escalating fares, as cited by airline operators, include the high cost of aviation fuel (Jet A1), an unfavorable exchange rate, multiple charges, and other operational challenges. Capt Ado Sanusi, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Aero Contractors, emphasizes that the current exchange rate necessitates a one-way ticket price exceeding N130,000, urging against underpricing that might compromise safety.
Anonymous airline operators stress that the aviation industry is not immune to the country’s inflationary pressures, necessitating fare adjustments in line with operational costs. Experts caution that if operational challenges persist, the situation may worsen, and they call on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to intervene in controlling fares.
While acknowledging passengers’ concerns about rising airfares, Capt Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of the NCAA, points out that airlines are in business to make a profit, and the challenging economic situation necessitates adjusting prices. Despite the challenges, some experts suggest that airlines could enhance efficiency and profitability through collaboration and merging. They argue that larger, consolidated operations would better withstand market changes and avoid constant price hikes.