Airfares across Nigeria have increased by as much as 100%, recent checks by Nairametrics confirms. Ticket fares to cities like Port Harcourt, Ilorin, and northern states like Kebbi, Borno, Adamawa and Kano have increased by as much as 100% in the last one month.
Business and student travellers who spoke to Nairametrics about their experience expressed shock and resentment about the rising cost of airfare in Nigeria especially as travelling by road continues to be risky due to the activities of bandits and kidnappers.
One of them, Olaoluwa Owoeye, told Nairametrics that he was shocked when he observed that the airfare from Lagos to Port Harcourt had gone up by over 100%, from N26,000 to N60,000 (Air Peace) and that flights to the city were fully booked until April 12, 2021.
Another air traveller, Tobi Hassan, who is a Post Graduate student at the Kwara State University, also lamented the recent hike in the fare to Ilorin. “The price had increased from N27,000 to N52,500 when I checked last week. I had no choice but to pay for Overland Airline ticket because I cannot afford to travel by road,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wale Richard, Managing Director of an AgroTech firm based in Lagos but with clients in Kebbi State, told Nairametrics that he was also surprised when he observed that the fare to the state had gone up by over 100%.
According to him, a one-way flight from Lagos to Kano which was N35,000 now cost between N56,500 and N90,000 on Max Air (depending on how early the flight was booked), while it is N73,000 on Air Peace for a second day flight.
Another air traveller, Bimbola Omotayo, a Lawyer, who has been defending some cases in Kano, Kaduna and Abuja, told our analyst that she observed the fares had gone up few days after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended the flight operations of Azman Air.
These are only four out of hundreds of air travellers who have been travelling from Lagos to different parts of the country. Many of them have borne the increase with equanimity, not wanting to expose themselves to the dangers of road travel, considering the high level of insecurity in various parts of the country.
Checks reveal …
Checks by Nairametrics revealed that a one-way trip from Lagos to Port Harcourt via Air Peace, which was around N26,000, now costs over N50,000.
Also, Lagos to Kano via Max Air, which was about N40,000, now costs N90,500 (economy tickets as at 11.50pm on Saturday).
What experts said about the hike
An Aviation Consultant, Muyiwa Lucas, attributed the recent spike in naira-to-dollar rate to the surge in the fare, as the development exposed local airlines to more financial needs.
According to him, most of the airlines’ expenses are denominated in dollars.
“The major worry of the airlines is the high cost of maintenance. A C-check that is required every 18 months now costs an average of over $2 million each for every commercial aircraft.
Maintenance is only one component of other obligations. So, if you have N26, 000 tickets now selling for N60, 000 or more, you cannot really blame the airlines, but the economy and its handlers.
Most airlines that have a couple of aircraft running have reduced their frequencies and routes just to be able to cut losses. The fares are up because the government has not helped operators and they have been forced to spread the cost across the traffic available. Though, they feel the pains of their patrons but survival is paramount to them,” Lucas said.
On the other hand, some industry watchers argued that before fares to the other parts of the nation increased, air travellers that ply the northern routes have had to pay twice the usual fare.
One of them, Kayode Bello, explained that shortly after the NCAA suspended the operations of Azman Air, the fares to the northern parts of the country rose by over 100%.
An Aviation consultant, Chris Aligbe, told Nairametrics that though it may not be justifiable to attribute the hike to the recent suspension of Azman Air by NCAA, the sector has witnessed similar trends in the past.
He said, “I cannot give reasons for the hike because I have not conducted my research on the development but we have witnessed similar cases in the sector when an airline will stop operating in a route and competitors in that route will increase the fare. That happens in the industry.”
As far as Gbemi Adeniji, a travel agent, is concerned, the suspension of Azman Air has further worsened connectivity across the country. Though she agreed that there were no facts to support the claim that the airline’s suspension is directly responsible for the development, she argued that when there are limited options for passengers, other airlines increase the fare.
She said, “We have limited options in Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and even in Abuja. With the suspension, the price is meant to rise because when demand exceeds supply, prices tend to rise in the sector.”
Prior to the suspension of Azman Air by the NCAA, the carrier operated 15 daily flights to most destinations in the North comprising Kano, its operational base, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Kebbi, and Yola.
What NCAA is saying
How long will the hike last? The experts agreed that if the suspension is lifted, normalcy may return to the route.
But in an exclusive interview on Saturday, the NCAA spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye told Nairametrics that he was not sure when the full audit report would be ready, which would be submitted to the Director-General of the authority.
He said, “It is the outcome of the audit that will determine what happens next. If the airline has addressed NCAA’s safety concerns, it will be asked to resume flight operations immediately.
“The idea behind the audit is to assist the airline and not to kill it and also to ensure lives of passengers are secured. I don’t know if what they will need to do will take a while before they complete the process. We assure Nigerians and other stakeholders that NCAA will do everything possible to safeguard the interests of all.”
What you need to know
On March 16, 2021, the NCAA suspended the flight operations of Azman Air with immediate effect over a series of incidents involving its Boeing 737 aircraft.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the NCAA and signed by its Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu.
It stated, “Following series of incidents involving Azman Air Boeing 737 Aircraft, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has pursuant to Section 35 (2) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 126.96.36.199 (A) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2015, suspended the operations of all the Boeing 737 Aircraft in the Fleet of Azman Air Services Limited, with effect from March 15, 2021.”
How air passengers can save more as Nigerian fares rise by 100% in 30 days
Recent airfare hike has created holes in the pockets of air passengers.
It is no longer news that air tickets have increased by over 100%, as reported by Nairametrics a few weeks back.
This development has created holes in the pockets of air travel patrons, especially those who chose the medium of transportation due to several cases of kidnappings and attacks witnessed on the road.
While some travellers doubt that it is possible to save on airfare, others, especially business travellers, argue that saving money at the point of purchasing the flight ticket is achievable. Here are some ways to spend less on air travel tickets.
Make findings on prices across many carriers
Fares for similar flights can vary dramatically from airline to airline. A quick search for a non-stop flight (both local and international) on online travel sites can help you uncover airlines offering cheaper ticket prices.
But where exactly should you search?
“There are several places to search for airfares online. You could search each airline’s website individually, but that could take some time. A more convenient way is to search a travel website like Travelstart.com, Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Kayak.com, Hipmunk.com or Dohop.com. You should also compare the prices on travel websites with those on the actual websites of each airline to confirm the prices.” Samuel Olafimihan, a travel agent, explains.
Sign up for alerts
Osagie Ehi, another travel agent, explained that to save more, air passengers should sign up for online alerts that will inform them of discount deals by airlines. According to him, the alerts often promote deeply discounted fares on a few seats in order to earn the airline some goodwill and free word-of-mouth advertising.
He said, “Most carriers allow you to sign up for these messages on their websites and customise them to your favoured airport. Many alerts are delivered by e-mail, but airlines are now using social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to distribute them as well.
You can also receive alerts through a number of third-party websites, which will send you alerts about low prices on a variety of airlines. The sites will let you know when a great fare becomes available for your area.”
Book different flights
For passengers flying a long distance, Olafimihan had this to say:
“The trip to a particular stopover might be cheap for one airline, and the trip from that stopover to the final stop cheaper for another. If you can afford a layover of a day or two, then book the flights separately. Though you are likely to get to your destination a little later, you would have saved some thousands of naira.”
Go for a one-way ticket
This, according to Ehi, allows passengers to book another airline on the return trip if that airline is cheaper, or book at the time of the return trip at a cheaper rate than when setting out.
What you should know: Last week, Nairametrics reported that airfares across Nigeria had doubled. Ticket fares to cities like Port Harcourt, Ilorin, and northern states like Kebbi, Borno, Adamawa and Kano have increased by as much as 100% in the last one month.
What they are saying: Travel agents, in separate interviews, told Nairametrics that not only are airfares becoming more unpredictable in Nigeria due to exchange rate and other factors, the fares may also not come down anytime soon. This is why it is advised that you explore the options listed above while trying to book a ticket.
Covid-19 protocol: FAAN insists that arriving passengers can only be picked up at car parks
The directive is in accordance with laid down Covid-19 protocols which was issued by the Federal Government.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has insisted that arriving passengers are to walk to designated car parks to board their vehicles as no driver would be permitted to pick up arriving passengers at the front of the airport terminal.
The directive is in accordance with laid down Covid-19 protocols which was issued by the Federal Government to help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease across the country.
This disclosure is contained in a press statement issued by FAAN and signed by its General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, on Monday, April 12, 2021.
FAAN in its statement said that drivers are only permitted to park and wait at the car parks adding that they can only drop off the passengers in front of the terminals and are not permitted to wait for any reason.
What FAAN is saying
The statement from FAAN reads, “The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby advises passengers, drivers and other airport users, particularly those at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, to always comply with all laid down protocols on Covid-19 to ensure the safety of all airport users,” the statement read.
“No driver is permitted to pick up arriving passenger(s) at the frontage of the terminals. All drivers must park and wait inside the car parks, while arriving passengers walk down to the car parks to board their vehicles.
“For departing passengers, drivers are only allowed to drop off passengers in front of the terminals. They are not permitted to wait for any reason after dropping their passengers, it is only a ‘Drop Off’ zone.
“We will like to advise all our esteemed customers to strictly adhere to these rules, to ease facilitation and enhance the safety of all airport users.”
In case you missed it
It can be recalled that FAAN, on Friday, advised passengers and airport users to arrive at the airports early, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, in order to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.
In July 2020, the Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced that domestic passengers are expected to arrive an hour and a half before departure.
FAAN had also said that anyone, including Very Important Personalities (VIP), who refuses to comply with Covid-19 protocols will not be allowed access to airport facilities.
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS; FAAN TASKS AIRPORT USERS ON COMPLIANCE
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) hereby advises passengers, drivers and other airport users, particularly those at the General Aviation Terminal, Lagos, to always comply with all laid down..
— Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (@FAAN_Official) April 12, 2021
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