As the holiday season approaches, travelers in Nigeria are grappling with a sharp rise in airfare prices, with tickets surging by an average of 192.31 percent year on-year.
BusinessDay analyzed air ticket prices across major airlines, revealing a significant surge in airfares on specific routes, a phenomenon attributed to accelerating inflation and high costs of aviation fuel.
Industry experts point to factors such as a shortage of foreign exchange required for diesel imports and the surging global crude oil prices as contributors to this trend.
Air Peace, one of Nigeria’s prominent airlines, has recently adjusted its ticket prices across various domestic routes through its booking portals. Notably, several routes have witnessed a doubling of flight fares compared to 2022.
For instance, the cost of one-way tickets for flights between Lagos and Abuja, which previously ranged from N65,000 in 2022, has now escalated to N190,600, reflecting a 192.31 percent price hike in price.
Similarly, Air Peace’s business-class tickets for the Lagos to Enugu route now command a price of N266,800. Meanwhile, one-way flights from Lagos to Anambra in late December are available at the same rate, with return flights starting from January 16th offering ticket options at N143,100 for economy flexible domestic and N238,300 for business domestic.
Travellers planning journeys from Lagos to Owerri during this period, with a return in mid-January, will face even higher prices. Economy flexible outbound one-way tickets, previously priced at N50,000, have surged to N266,800, indicating a significant 433.60 percent increase.
Additionally, return tickets from Owerri to Lagos in the economy flexible category now range from N143,000 to N238,200 for travel on January 15th.
The surge in airfares is not exclusive to specific routes but is observable for flights from Lagos to Port Harcourt during the same period. An economy flexible one-way ticket to Port Harcourt, which previously averaged N60,000, now costs between N143,000. A notable 138.33 percent hike compared to 2022.
Similarly, the economy flexible inbound ticket for this route ranges from N100,300 to N143,000. Travellers heading to Kano from Lagos can expect ticket prices between N85,000 and N190,600 for late December, with return tickets from mid-January available within the range of N76,300 to N190,600.
Dana Air, another well-regarded Nigerian airline, has also seen a notable increase in ticket prices this year. Previously, a one-way trip from Lagos to Abuja cost approximately N55,000 in 2022. However, current ticket prices for this route now sell at N250,000, signifying a substantial rate increase of 354.55 percent.
The trend of elevated airfares extends to other routes as well, with flights from Lagos to Owerri and Lagos to Port Harcourt experiencing significant rate hikes. For example, an economy flexible ticket to Owerri has surged to N200,000, while a business flexible ticket now commands a lofty N250,000.
The Lagos to Port Harcourt route shows no respite from exorbitant outbound ticket prices on December 24th, ranging from N100,000 to N250,000, with options available in Economy flexible, Business, and Business flexible categories. Regrettably, for those seeking travel from Lagos to Enugu, all seats for December are fully booked.
Taking a look at United Nigeria Airlines’ flight options for late December to mid-January, the one-way ticket price from Lagos to Kano is N78,000, while the return ticket is priced at N70,000. For Lagos to Enugu, one-way ticket sales are at N220,500, with the return ticket priced at N115,000.
For travellers heading to Owerri, a one-way ticket from Lagos is now sold for N220,500, with a return ticket priced at N142,501.
For the Lagos to Abuja route, one-way tickets are priced between N80,000 to N85,000, with return tickets from mid-January ranging from N90,000 to N95,000.
On the route from Lagos to Port Harcourt, outbound tickets are available for N110,000, and return tickets from mid-January are priced at N100,000.
Despite the staggering increase in air ticket prices, there appears demand is still surging, especially in some specific destinations such as Owerri, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna, and Anambra.
Esther Oare, a travel agent, explained prices of airfares usually surge during the festive season, but it is much higher in 2024 owing to the challenges confronting flight operators. “It is normal for flight tickets to be high at this time of the year, but this is the highest it has ever been,” she said.
Oare attributed the hike in fare prices to high cost of aviation fuel and exchange rate instability.