Air travel surges despite fares increment


Abiola Seun

Despite increasing airfares by airlines across the country, passengers still throng airports for air travel, report has shown.

Aviation stakeholders have attributed increase in the price of Jet-A1, inability to access foreign exchange, volatile foreign exchange regime and procurement of aircraft spare parts abroad in foreign currency as reasons for the increase in Air fare.

They argued that the recent spike in naira-to-dollar rate contributed to the surge in the fare, as the development exposed local airlines to more financial needs, saying most of the airlines’ expenses are denominated in dollars.

Also,  C-check that is required every 18 months, it was gathered, now costs an average of $2 million each for every commercial aircraft.

However, despite the increase in fare, insecurity on the nation’s highway such as kidnapping for ransom, armed robbery among other vices have made Nigerians abandoned road travel for exorbitant air travel in the country.

For instance, a one-way trip from Lagos to Port Harcourt via Air Peace, which was around N26,000, now costs over N60,000 while Abuja to Lagos cost N65,000 depending on the time of booking.

Also, Lagos to Kano via Max Air, which was about N40,000, now costs N58,600  (economy tickets as at 4.10pm last week Wednesday).

Also, Abuja to Yola on Thursday, August 5 on Max Air cost N42,000 while a one way ticket, Lagos to Enugu on Dana Air business class cost N99,000 as at 4:15pm yesterday.

Speaking on reasons air fare skyrocketed, the media and communications officer of Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, said the increase in fare was as a result of so many factors such as cost of aviation fuel, Jet-A1, inability to access forex among others.

He, however, confirmed that despite the air fare, passengers traffic haven’t gone down as aircraft are still filled to brim.

“No dwindling passengers traffic, Nigerians are flying and the airports are bustling. Passengers are filled to brim in all Dana aircraft,” he said.

He continued,  “Though, so many issues led to increase in the fare which include cost of Jet-A1, inability to access forex because airlines are still engaging government on how they can create a special window for the aviation industry to access forex,” he said.

He stated further, “we earn in naira and we do business in foreign currency so, also is the law of demand and supply.

“But, at Dana air, we make our fare as competitive as possible so, nothing like dwindling traffic but for Covid-19, we should enforce strict adherence to safety protocols as it is being done at the airport and by the airlines.”

Also speaking  the spokesperson, Arik Air, Banji Ola, said airlines are still operating at full capacity.

He corroborated Ezenwa’s position, saying exchange rate is the major cause of increment in air fare.
“Majorly, exchange rate is the cause also, Jet-A1 and other factors but, we do not have dwindling passenger traffic at airports because Nigerians still prefer air travel because it remains the safest and fastest among the mode of transportation.”

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