FOR some weeks now, air fares have soared to unprecedented heights and have become a cause for worry especially with the security situation on the roads.
Last week’s revelation that some airlines charged as high as N120, 000 for a one way trip from Abuja to Lagos has started generating questions over the reasons why ticket prices would skyrocket just like that but no other saner explanation sufficed but cost of operations, availability of foreign exchange and the usual challenges airline have grappled with for over two decades.
During the Easter celebrations airfares across Nigeria have increased by as much as 100% as ticket fares to cities like Port Harcourt from Lagos rose from N26, 000 to N60, 000 and that flights to the city were fully booked until April 12, 2021.
Some fares to Ilorin increased from N26, 000 to N56, 000 and air fares to Kano on a one-way flight from Lagos which was N35, 000 now cost between N56, 500 and N90, 000.
These increases are not unconnected to aviation operational costs; from acquisition of spare parts to a major maintenance all of which are dollar denominated in a terrain where the passengers are paying with a weaker denomination, the Naira. And this is coupled with the bottlenecks of even getting some of these spares through the Nigeria Customs.
Chairman of West Link Airlines, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia who spoke with Nigerian Flight Deck on the airfares said one way to ensure air fares are not overpriced is to speed up general aviation development to create options for the flying public especially when it seems like there is connivance among the available few.
He however stated that that does not take away the inherent challenges in the industry that cause the fares to soar, things that affect the airlines’ at the core and militate against their survival.
(Source: Nigerian Flight Deck)