• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria-Niger Tit for Tat: Expect flight ticket prices to rise further says expert

Rowland Iyayi (Captain) (1)

The deteriorating political relationship between Nigeria and Niger Republic that has led to the closure of both countries’ airspace to local and international flights is expected to push the cost of flight tickets even higher, says Rowland Iyayi (Captain), CEO of TopBrass Airlines.

Iyayi, explaining the impact of these political moves on the aviation industry during his guest appearance on the AriseTV News night programme on Tuesday, said that Niger’s new directive would not only drive the ticket prices of international flights higher but is definitely going to make flight tickets for domestic carriers going on international routes even more expensive.

“Niger as a country borders over 700 miles of the Northern Nigerian borders. So essentially, it means that any south-bound flight from Europe or any north-bound flight from Nigeria would have to naturally traverse the airspace,” he said.

“But with the closure of that airspace to flights in and out of Nigeria specifically, what it means is that any international flight originating from Nigeria or ending in Nigeria from any part of the world and that has to transverse the Nigerian airspace is banned.”

The aviation expert explained that because of the time it takes for airlines to traverse the airspace of Niger, taking into account the size of the Niger Republic, it would be inevitable not to expect the price of a flight ticket to go up.

What that means is that it would cost more aviation fuel to cover that distance, and considering the challenges such as foreign airlines trapped funds and others, Nigerians should expect ticket prices for both international airlines and domestic airlines to become way more expensive.

Iyayi added, “What that essentially means is that such a flight would have to go around the airspace, and if you look at it from the standpoint of size, We are talking about an addition to flight time, anything from an hour and a half to two hours, depending on where you are coming from.

“That said, it increases drastically the cost of operation of international flights into and out of Nigeria, especially for domestic flights designated to fly internationally.

“This is a huge cost in addition to what we are already incurring. It is almost impossible to sustain this in the long term.”

He, however, said that the only and best solution to this imbroglio is a political solution.

“I think there is a need to have dialogue between governments, and particularly the ECOWAS group,” the CEO of TopBrass Airlines insisted.

Admitting that in trying to harm the military government in Niger Republic, the Nigerian government was in fact actually causing more damage to its economy, taking into account its share size of its GDP.

Meanwhile, Nigerians have been reacting to Iyayi’s explanation of the impact of the worsening political relations on the aviation industry and his solution on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Apparently, most Nigerians on the social media blogging application have been unanimous in appealing to the government to resolve the situation.

Chijioke Ike @ChijiokeIke3 tweeted, “Get ready to pay more millions for flights from Europe.”

David Hundeyin, whose tweets exposed the Nigerian government’s plan to invade the Niger Republic militarily, tweeted, “This particular incident marked the last time I will ever set myself on fire for Nigeria or Nigerians. I’m still very bitter about many things that happened to me last year because I tried to save people’s lives. Never again.”

However, Christian C. @omorogeic, reacting to David’s tweet, appealed to him to continue in his selfless patriotic drive to rescue Nigeria. He tweeted, “David, as a human, you have every right to be furious about your experience in that Niger’s saga, but please be proud that you were able to save two countries from a needless war. Please don’t hold back in any capacity to serve humanity; one day, your reward will come.”