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Airfares rise for summer travellers on N460/$ exchange rate

Passengers travelling for summer are currently paying more as airfares, as ticket prices to various destinations, have surged as a result of increase in naira-to-dollar exchange rate.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) exchange rates moved speedily from N412 to N420 and now N460 to the dollar, forcing passengers to pay more for tickets, even though airfares are stable.

“Prices of tickets are the same but travellers from Nigeria are paying more because of the exchange rate. Tickets are now higher because they are priced in dollars. For instance, $1,000 at N412 to a dollar was N412,000, but $1,000 at the current N460 to a dollar (IATA rate) is now N460,000,” Susan Akporiaye president, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), stated.

Top destinations this summer for Nigerians include London, USA, Canada, Rwanda, Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia.

An average economy class Lagos-London return ticket cost between $850 and $1,335, amounting to N350,000 to N550,000, across all foreign carriers, using the IATA N412 exchange rate.

Read also: Air travel agents in Port Harcourt close shops on fees hike

However, with the current exchange rate of N460 to the dollar, passengers are paying between N391,000 and N614,100, indicating an increase of 11.6 percent

Also, an average economy class return ticket on Lagos-US destinations using N412 to a dollar exchange rate cost between $1,092 and $1,699, which amounts to N450,000 and N700,000 across all foreign airlines.

With the current exchange rate of N460 to the dollar, passengers are paying between N502,320 and N781,540, indicating an increase of 11 percent.

With N412 to the dollar, a Lagos-Canada economy-class return ticket cost between $1,214 and $1,942, which amounts to N500,000 to N800,000 on Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar, Turkish Airlines and Egypt Air. But with the current exchange rate of N460 to the dollar, passengers are paying between N558,440 and N893,320, indicating an increase of 11.6 percent.

Lagos-Egypt, which is the booming destination this summer, cost between $485 and $971 for a return ticket, which amounts to N200,000 to N400,000 at N412 exchange rate. This has however changed as passengers now pay between N223,100 and N446,660 on the same destination using the new N460 IATA exchange rate, showing a 11.6 percent increase.

Ugochukwu Clement, a frequent traveller, told BusinessDay that he had to pay almost N100,000 extra for a flight to London as a result of the IATA exchange rate.

“It can be frustrating to see that all of a sudden that despite ticket prices remaining the same, travellers have to pay extra because of exchange rates. I think the government should work with IATA and see how it can ease the burden on travellers,” Clement said.

“Clients are complaining but there is nothing travel agents can do about the increase in ticket prices,” the NANTA president said.

“When the rates were N412 to a dollar, I gave my client a price and by the time he was ready to pay, it had gone up. Now I am telling him there is an extra N50,000 he needs to pay. Despite the rates, people still travel if they need to travel but they pay grudgingly,” she said.

Summer travels are picking up, especially to African destinations, she said, explaining that travel agents are now getting requests to Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and Zanzibar.

She observed that since the Dubai ban, people were travelling to African countries that have visa-on-arrival policy, noting, “Rwanda is now becoming the Dubai of Nigerians. It is a very beautiful place with visa-on-arrival, so there is a lot of rush for Rwanda this summer.”

Travel is however gaining momentum after COVID-19 as foreign airlines are increasing frequencies and resuming flights.

Qatar doubled its flights to Lagos, thereby exploiting the woes of Emirates. The service is operated by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner with 22 seats in business class and 232 seats in economy.

The airline also operates three weekly flights from Abuja, connecting more passengers from Nigeria to the airline’s rapidly expanding network to more than 140 destinations.

Delta Airline has resumed its Lagos-New York service. The choice of non-stop services to Delta’s largest hubs enables customers to connect onto flights to 130 destinations across the US within four hours of arrival in either Atlanta or New York.

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