• Monday, December 11, 2023
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BusinessDay

Easter: Travellers in last minute rush as fares skyrocket

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Nigerians, who are travelling from one state to another to celebrate Easter, thronged the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammad Airport at both terminals on Thursday as they scrambled for flight tickets.

At the two terminals, a lot of travellers scrambled for flight tickets out of Lagos with most heading to Benin City, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Uyo, Owerri, Kaduna, among others.

Extended queues of passengers anxiously waiting to purchase tickets were noticed at Dana and IRS.

The scramble for seats became hotter because Aero Contractors, which has at least 12 B737, stopped operations two weeks ago, forcing travellers who had booked online (non-refundable) to check for available seats on other airlines.

However, apart from Abuja, there were not many passengers travelling to other northern states as the fares increased astronomically.

An hour flight, BusinessDay observed yesterday went for between N28,000 and N32,000 even as many of the airline’s flights are fully booked.

The nation’s currency, the naira, yesterday, weakened against the US dollar at the inter-bank market losing 37 kobo to close at N158.65/$ as against N158.28/$ the previous day, data from the Financial Markets Dealers Association (FMDA) has revealed.

An analyst told BusinessDay that the depreciation was due to short supply of the greenback as other complementary sources of dollar supply were completely quiet. For instance, there was no sale from the energy companies and there was no inflow from the offshore investors. Meanwhile, there was increased demand of the greenback for home consumption and for travellers during the Easter period, the analyst said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday offered and sold $300 million to 19 successful deposit money banks that participated at the foreign exchange Dutch auction at the rate of N155.75/$.

The local currency yesterday remained stable at the official, bureau de change and parallel markets closing at N155.75/$, N160.0000/$, and N160.5000/$, respectively.

 

SADE WILLIAMS