Nigerians have criticised the sudden spike in the prices of airlines’ tickets as most domestic airlines pegged their minimum fare at N50,000.
Before now, the economy class fares hovered between N23,300 and N48,000, although rates rose to as much as N70,000 during the last festive season.
By weekend, the prices of air tickets of major companies such as Airpeace, Ibom Air, Max Air, Aero contractors, Dana, Azman air among others, rose to a minimum of N50,000.
Also, passengers are no longer to receive discounts even if they book weeks ahead as it used to happen.
The minimum ticket price for even a three-week booking on Air Peace, Ibom air, Max Air, Azman air and others has been pegged at N50,000 flat rate, about 115 per cent increase from N23,300 minimum rate.
Last week, the Airline Operators of Nigeria in a statement condemned attacks on airline staff and facilities by passengers at the various airports over flight delays or cancellations.
The association also fumed over the high cost of jet fuel, foreign exchange scarcity, inflation, increase in ground handling charges as well as cost of buying and importation of spare parts.
They said aviation fuel rise from N190 per litre to N410 in Lagos, N422 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N429 in Kano.
Mustapha Taofeek, an Abuja resident who planned to travel by air to Port Harcourt, said he could not afford N50,000 as air ticket.
“I have decided to join God is Good first class motors. Even when I am trying to book ahead for my trips, airlines are asking me to pay N50,000. That is ridiculous,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.
Gabriel Eyo, a medical doctor in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State said, “Even road transport companies have increased their bus fares. Everyone is attributing this hike to the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country.”
@anembaben in a tweet said, “I seriously feel so sorry for Corpers that would have to fly for Camp. This fee is outrageous. Yet the travel allowance by NYSC is N3,200. Allowance is N33k. You spend N100k on transportation to collect 33k.”
“This is ridiculous, I read the reason behind the air fare hike is because of aviation fuel.
Government must intervene,” @esangsmart said in another tweet.
While some Nigerians are calling for government intervention, Sam Adurogboye, the general manager of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES recently said ticket prices is governed by market forces.
“Because Aviation is deregulated and as such demand and supply determines the price i.e. fares. We dont fix it. It was done before deregulation,” he said.
Aniekan Essienette, Ibom Air’s group manager, marketing and communication, when asked about the hike in airfare by Ibom Air, said it is “Not true.”
“See a snapshot of a booking made just now N50k is not our base fare,” she said. “Our base fare is determined on a graduating format, if you find a fare, that is the going fare at the time/ day.”
Kingsley Okwudili, Dana Air communication official, declined to comment. He referred this reporter to the statement issued by airline operators last week.
Also, calls and text messages sent to Stanley Olisa, Air Peace spokespersob, were not answered.
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