Nigerian Business Owners Groan As Soaring Air Tickets Disrupt Economic Activities
Air travelers in Nigeria and business people that require regular mobility are feeling the heat massively due to skyrocketing airfares occasioned by the floating of naira and increase in the price of aviation fuel also known as Jet A1.
The rising cost of prices of air tickets is greatly affecting local travel as it has led to skyrocketed airfare, thereby, making it increasingly difficult for Nigerians to travel, especially when compared to neighbouring countries such as Benin and Ghana, where airfares are relatively cheaper.
These factors have made air travel far above the reach of the middle class, Besides, challenges like kidnapping, banditry, communal clashes, and terrorism have made other modes of transportation dangerous options.
A visit to the websites of Air Peace, Ibom Air, Dana Air, and United Airlines have shown that passengers would need at least N150,000 to purchase a return ticket to most destinations.
On Ibom Air, Lagos to Uyo goes for N216,000 on the economy seat while Port Harcourt to Abuja goes for N120,000 on Monday, 31st July, 2023. Return ticket for Lagos to Enugu stands at N184,000 on Ibom Air on July 31st, 2023.
Speaking on the increase in airfares, the spokesman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and chairman, United Nigeria Airlines, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, stated recently, stated that all local operators are losing huge amounts of money due to the current economic situation.
According to him, the local airlines are offering patriotic service to air passengers in the country.
He said, “Obviously, the rise in fares to N100,000 for a one-hour flight is inevitable. I can tell you that all the airline operators, in the last three months, have been losing money, a huge amount of money. There is too much stress on the operational fronts for them to break even.”
“Even if aviation fuel is made available, there must be a review to reflect the minimal operational cost. We are offering patriotic services to the nation and understand the essential part of it. We are part of this economic development process in Nigeria but it is coming at a very huge sacrifice.”
The spokesperson for foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, Kingsley Nwokoma, expressed concern over the escalating dollar rates and the unresolved issue of trapped funds.
Nwokoma said these factors had led to a significant rise in airfares, and suggested that passengers might have to explore alternative modes of transportation if feasible.
He said airlines had continued to closely monitor the situation, and hoped for an amicable resolution from the new government, as failure to rectify the situation could result in more airlines pulling out of Nigeria.
Nwokoma said, “I think passengers have to look for alternative means to travel if they have to because the dollar rate has gone up, and even the airlines have also moved up their dollar rates. We all know that the issue of trapped funds is still here, it is almost a $1bn and that has not been resolved. Airlines are still watching and looking at the new government, hoping that something will happen, if not more airlines might leave the country.”