• Friday, February 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

Festivities: Nigerians face frustration as high airfare persists

Airfares rise for summer travellers on N460/$ naira rate

As the holiday season approaches, many Nigerians are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to reunite with their loved ones in their hometowns, but soaring airfare ticket prices are threatening to shatter their plans.

Frustration over the exorbitant costs imposed by various airlines has left many questioning whether they will be able to make the trip at all.

Asides the exorbitant airfares, there is also the combination of poor road conditions that continues to deflate travel plans, leaving many Nigerians grappling with the difficult decision of whether or not to embark on their anticipated trips.

The holiday season in Nigeria holds great cultural and sentimental significance, with countless Nigerians eagerly looking forward to reconnect with family and friends after a long period of separation.

Read also: Lagos-London airfares seen crashing on local carriers’ entry

However, the escalating cost for air travel has become a significant roadblock, endangering the cherished tradition of returning home for the festivities.

A survey conducted by BusinessDay among prospective travellers revealed a widespread sense of frustration and disappointment with the current airline ticket pricing.

Tina Mba, a young lady who deals in foreign exchange, expressed her concern, saying, “The price surge this year is unbelievable. It makes it almost impossible for an average Nigerian to visit home,” she said.

Several airlines are reportedly capitalising on the increased demand by disproportionately increasing their airfare tickets. Despite the economic challenges faced by Nigerians due to the Coronavirus ( COVID-19) pandemic, the cost of air travel has surged significantly, resulting in disappointed travellers struggling to reconcile their desires with the reality of their financial limitations.

However, some stakeholders have blamed the rise in jet fuel prices.

“Tickets from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Uyo and Enugu, which are the most frequently visited destinations during Christmas, have already risen by over 100 percent. We noticed the sharp rise in Christmas prices as soon as aviation fuel started to rise,” Gina Chika, a travel agent said.

According to Chika, airfares for Christmas don’t increase until November but this year, the increase came suddenly during the first week of October after aviation fuel price rose from N800 to N1,000 per litre.

Read also: Christmas airfares up 100% as jet fuel price hit 1,000/litre

Roland Iyayi, a member of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), said that aviation fuel constitutes 40 percent operating cost for every airline and with the product at 1,000 per litre, it is no longer sustainable.

“If the NNPC champions sustainable aviation fuel using palm oil, it will give Nigeria comparative advantage and the bigger picture is that the economy will grow and it will remove import dependency and create jobs. So, for the airline operators, we say there is a technology available and there is raw material available so we can use that as an advantage to lead the world in alternative aviation fuel,” Iyayi said.

Travellers embarking on a one-way trip from Lagos to Abuja on Air Peace starting from December 18th can expect to face ticket prices ranging from N100,300 to N190,600 as against N60,000 to N70,000.

The airline also offers an Economy flexible domestic class option priced at N85,800, but its availability is limited.

However, even with this offer, return ticket prices for January 10th remain high, ranging again from N100,300 for Economy flexible domestic to N190,600.

On the Lagos to Port Harcourt route, Air Peace which cost an average of N65,000 now offers one-way ticket prices between N105,000 to N143,000. The return ticket prices also range from N105,000 for Economy to N100,300 for Economy flexible domestic. Ultimately resulting to N215,400 and N260,200 in a round trip.

For travellers journeying from Lagos to Owerri on Air Peace, the one-way ticket prices range from N171,500 (Economy) to N266,800 (Business class). Inbound seats available from 10th January reveal a sum of N266,800.

Against average of N60,000, passengers travelling from Lagos to Enugu can expect one-way ticket prices ranging from N100,300 (economy flexible domestic) to N190,600 (business class), with Economy class available at N171,500.

Moving from Lagos to Asaba, the one-way trip fares range from N105,100 to N190,700, depending on the class of service.

The Economy class ticket price is set at N114,500, with the Economy flexible domestic class available for N105,100 and the Economy class priced at N124,000. Business class seats are priced at N190,700. Return flight tickets for this route range from N109,100 (economy flexible domestic) to N194,700 (business class), with economy class priced at N118,500.

Dana Air, another prominent Nigerian airline, has also increased prices. One-way trip from Lagos to Abuja which cost about N55,000 has increased. On. Tickets from December 18th range from N86,000 to N250,000, with tickets differentiated by the different classes offered.

The Economy saver class is priced at N86,000, followed by the Economy flexible (N100,000), Business saver (N210,000), and Business flexible (N250,000).

Return ticket prices for January 10th vary as well. The Economy flexible ticket is available at N137,000, the Business saver ticket is sold for N210,000, and the Business flexible ticket is available for N250,000.

On the Lagos to Owerri route, Dana Air only offers Economy flexible class tickets for N200,000 and Business flexible tickets for N250,000. The return flight ticket prices for this route range from N137,000 (Economy flexible) to N250,000 (Business flexible).

For the Lagos to Port Harcourt route on Dana Air, one-way trip prices on December 18th vary from N97,000 to N250,000, with options including Economy saver, Economy flexible, Business saver, and Business flexible.

The return ticket price follows the same pattern as the inbound ticket options.

United Nigeria Airline provides travel options from Lagos to Asaba and Lagos to Enugu. Economy flexible tickets which costs about N65,000@ from Lagos to Asaba are priced at N115,500, while the Lagos to Enugu route only has the Economy flexible ticket available for N110,000. Return ticket prices for these routes range from N100,000 (Economy flexible) to N175,649 (Business class).

For the Lagos to Owerri outbound flight, we see ticket price available at N150,500, whike return flights, the Economy flexible ticket is priced at N150,500.

Travellers going from Lagos to Owerri with United Nigeria Airline can purchase an Economy flex flight ticket for N95,000. However, inbound flights on January 10th only offer the Economy flexible ticket option for this route.

Ibom Air’s outbound ticket prices from Lagos to Abuja range from N99,000 to N253,000, offering various options such as Economy class (N151,000) and Economy upgrade (N138,000). Inbound flight ticket prices for this route range from N96,000 to N250,000.

The aviation fuel crisis which began in late February 2022 and deteriorated further through the months of March 2022 to May 2022, threatened the ability of airlines to continue operations with the price of JetA1 rising from N200 in December 2021 to over N400 per litre in February and to N800 in May.

Read also: Why aircraft overshoot runways

The situation has forced airlines to raise base fares from an average of N28,000 to N50,000 and to as much as N100,000. Stakeholders had predicted that the fare raise will lead to drop in passenger traffic but the reverse has been the case.

There is respite however, for those who have pre-booked months back as they will not be affected by the new price regime.

“I will be in my village this December because I booked about two months ago when the fares were not this prohibitive,” a manager with a Public Relations firm told our correspondent.

The poor condition of Nigerian roads and insecurity challenges across the country have seen passenger numbers increase and aircraft movements also increase.