As the yuletide approaches, air passengers are facing increasing discomfort over the high cost of tickets. Daily Trust on Sunday reports that a one-way flight ticket costs up to N200,000, depending on the route.
Checks by our correspondent showed that ahead of Christmas and New Year, many seats have been booked; and as the festive period draws nearer, available seats are becoming more expensive.
The eastern routes are the most affected, with Enugu flight tickets selling between N171,000 and N200,000.
Checks by our correspondent indicate that the base fare to Port Harcourt is N99,000 and projected to hit N138,000 as bookings increase.
Lagos to Owerri, from December 5 sells between N114,400 and N190,600 for a one-way economy ticket and N238,200 for business, while the base fare for Lagos-Calabar is N100,000.
At the moment, a 30-minute flight to Ilorin from Lagos costs between 100,000 and N143,000 for economy class.
Lagos to Sokoto ticket goes for N150,000, while a Lagos-Kaduna ticket is N143,000 as the base fare.
How airfares have doubled in one year
Our correspondent reports that an economy ticket one-way flight has increased from N50,000 (by 100 per cent) to over N100,000 on some routes. Airlines are blaming the hike on the prevailing economic challenges, especially high cost of operation.
The airlines had in 2022 increased a one-way ticket to N50,000 from N30,000. This had generated controversy in the travel industry.
But at present, a one-way economy ticket base fare is around N80,000.
Some of the factors cited by airline operators who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday include high cost of aviation fuel, known as Jet A1, high exchange rate, multiple charges, among others.
The managing director/chief executive of Aero Contractors, Capt Ado Sanusi, recently told our correspondent that with the current rate of exchange, a one-way ticket should sell for over N130,000.
According to him, any operator pricing his ticket low might be cutting corners.
He said, “You can quote me on this: When the dollar was N460 we were selling a Lagos-Abuja ticket at N65,000, but the dollar is now twice that amount. And there is nothing we do in aviation that is not dollarised. You can imagine. So, we should be selling the ticket at N130,000.
“We don’t manufacture the aircraft; we don’t even refine the oil. So, what else do you do? We don’t even do the wheel on an aircraft. We also have to buy the bolts on the aircraft outside the country. So the moment the dollar is rising, we are affected. The fuel we buy is imported, as well as parts of the aircraft, so how would anybody tell me that he would not increase his ticket, except he is cutting corners. The only thing we can control is manpower.”
Another airline operator who spoke on condition of anonymity noted that the aviation industry was not immune to the inflationary pressure in the country.
He said with the rise in the dollar, airlines could not afford to maintain the old prices of tickets.