• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Airlines deny increasing base fare to N50,000

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The Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON) has denied coming together to fix N50,000 as cost of economy flight ticket.

This is as the operators disclosed that they make less than N5,000 on each ticket sold after paying multiple charges to agencies, paying staff and maintaining their aircraft.

Speaking during a press conference, Allen Onyema, vice president, AON and chairman Air Peace Airline said the N50,000 ticket price has always been there for the last five year, adding that airlines adjust airfare based on their operational costs.

Onyema said what airlines have done is to work out unit cost per seat and this determines their basic ticket price.

BusinessDay had reported that last week, most domestic airlines operating in Nigeria increased the cost of economy flight tickets for domestic routes from about N30,000 to a base fare of N50,000.

The airline operators had cited the high cost of jet A1 fuel, forex scarcity, inflation, high ground handling charges, cost of importation of spare parts among others as reasons for the increase.

Onyema who was representing the president of AON said the cost of aviation fuel has increased by over 200 percent, foriegn exchange has also increased by over 100 percent in two years, ground handling companies have increased their rates by over 300 percent, yet the cost of air tickets is below 100 dollars.

He further explained that any airline charging below 100 dollars per ticket is running at a loss and that was why several airlines have closed shop in the last 10 years.

“People have asked us how we maintain our planes with the fares we charge. In as much as we are rendering services, our business must be sustained.

“The repair of just one aircraft engine can take everything an airline makes in one month. Airline business is not a profitable business,” Onyema added.

He also disclosed that airlines lost N20 billion to refunds as a result of flight delays in 2021, adding that no airline loves to delay flights but factors beyond the airlines’ control cause flight delays.

Read also: Why we raised domestic flight ticket to N50,000 – Airlines

Some of the causes of flight delays he mentioned include bird strikes, airport apron congestion, lack of space for check-in, poor airport infrastructure, air traffic flow control, bad weather and unruly behaviour of passengers.

Onyema hinted that in 2021, airlines lost 60 million dollars to engine repairs as a result of bird strike incidents, which are increasing in the country. This has grounded aircraft that should be in operation.

He, therefore, called on the concerned authorities to provide airport equipment to help reduce bird strikes in Nigeria.

The AON said it strongly objects to the multiple destination granted foreign carriers such as Qatar Airways and Ethiopian Airlines by the Federal Government.

“This will impede growth of domestic airlines and the aviation sector. All foreign airlines put together do not provide 10 percent of jobs provided by the smallest airline in Nigeria. multiple designation granted foreign airlines would lead to job losses and domestic airlines closing shops,” Onyema added.