Passengers in the aviation sector are presently going through difficult times as the domestic airlines have jacked up airfares by a minimum of 100%, with a one-way economy ticket selling at over N50,000.
This is coming barely less than 10 days after the airline operators in Nigeria had warned that the skyrocketing price of aviation fuel by over 100% to about N400 per litre within a year, would lead to increase in the price of tickets in order to sustain their operations.
However, reports suggest the price of aviation fuel increased to between N420 to N450 per litre on Sunday depending on the city, as against the N400 per litre it was on Thursday, without prior notice to the airlines, with a prediction that it could rise to N500 per litre in a few days.
The air passengers have been groaning over the high cost of these airfares, describing the hike as too exorbitant and seeking for government intervention and a downward review.
What the Airline Operators are saying
The airline operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), in a statement issued about 24 hours ago, listed some of the operational challenges causing flight delays and cancellations to include unavailability of aviation fuel (Jet A1), the ever-rising cost of aviation fuel and unavailability of forex for spare parts and maintenance.
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Others are delays from customs in the clearing of safety-critical spare parts, poor air traffic flow and inadequate check-in counters.
The AON said, “Jet A1 today costs above N410 in Lagos, N422 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N429 in Kano per litre and has continued to rise fast and steadily. On top of the continuous rise in the fuel price, fuel supply is at best epileptic at several airports thereby causing delays.”
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They had also condemned attacks on airline staff and facilities at the various airports by passengers over flight delays or cancellations.
Some of the airlines with increased base rates in their airfare include Azman Air, Max Air, Ibom Air, Arik Air, Air Peace and Dana Air, for flights to Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri routes.
A check on some of the airlines shows that Azman Air and Max Air’s fares for Sunday is N50,000. Ibom Air’s fare is N53,000, while Arik Air, Air Peace and Dana Air fixed above N50,000 for an economy seat.
Also, flights from Lagos to Port Harcourt are pegged at N50, 750 for United Nigeria, N50,000 for Air Peace and N50,250 for Arik Air.
There are suggestions that air passengers may pay as much as N80,000 to N100,000 for a one-way economy seat if they are booking on the day of travel.
Azman Air explains reasons for airfare hike
Azman Air in a statement on its Twitter account said that they were forced to increase airfares to remain in business and provide safe and reliable services, adding that they have been hampered by hike in prices of aviation-related materials, services and foreign exchange.
The airline said, ‘’The increase in ticket fares is never with the intention of hurting or extorting but for us to stay afloat in the provision of safe and reliable flight experience to our passengers. The review became necessary due to hike in prices of aviation-related materials, services and FOREX.’’
The huge increase in airfare is a development that was expected following the recent hike in price of aviation fuel and the slide in foreign exchange rate.
The tourism sector which is trying to recover from the devastating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, might be affected as people will only make very important business travels.