Arik crisis: Domestic airlines revert to lower fares

Arik Air

Airlines reduce fares after turbulent week in aviation industry.

Domestic airline operators on Tuesday said ticket fares had been returned to their normal prices after five days of fare hikes.

Some of the airline officials said the fares increased between September 21 and September 24 because of a surge in air travellers.

The price hike was also caused by the aviation unions’ disruption of Arik Air’s operations based on their claims that the airline owed huge sums to their employers.

Another remote cause was the overflowing of the banks of the River Niger onto the Abuja-Lokoja Highway, which forced road safety officials to close the road’s main artery in order to protect the lives of motorists and passengers.

The flooding prevented many people from travelling by road, opting to fly instead.

One passenger, Bola Aguda, said he came to the airport because of the closure of the Lokoja-Abuja road.

“I have a phobia for travelling by air but with the situation in Lokoja, I am more scared now. I believe most of the people you see here today are like me. Although the air ticket price is high, I have no choice now but to go with any available airline that I can afford,” he said.

He added that all the fares were the same for the airlines.

A ticketing official of Overland Airline, Rita Ejor, said that the airline only changed its price for two days over the weekend due to the disruption of Arik Air services. They had since returned to the normal price, she said.

“Even though the crowd of passengers since last week has increased, we have reduced our price because Arik Air resumed and we now have a competitor,” Ms. Ejor said.

The Station Manager for IRS Airlines, Muyiwa Adesanya, said the airlines charged higher last week due to the peak period, and that the price had been reverted since Monday.

“It is normal to experience price increase during peak periods. In our own case, for now, we have no intention of increasing our air fares. The decision to review airfare is that of the management, and the regulatory bodies like the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,’’ Mr. Adesanya said.

A member of staff of Aero Contractors Airline said that the airline reduced its charges in order to woo more customers in a competitive business.

Spokesperson of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Sam Adurogboye, said nobody had reported or complained to the agency about the higher rates.



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