The recent surge in the cost of return air tickets has left passengers across the country groaning in frustration. This exorbitant increase in prices has severely impacted those who rely on air travel for business, family visits, or even leisure this yuletide season. The sudden spike can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as increased taxes and surcharges, reduced flight availability due to the global pandemic, and the rising cost of aviation fuel. As a result, passengers now face seemingly insurmountable hurdles to secure affordable flights, further exacerbating the travel woes during these unprecedented times.
Due to the rapidly increasing costs of flying among the local airline operators, passengers on a few of the country’s chosen routes are grumbling. Some routes now have economy class airfares exceeding N250,000 per way. Investigations showed that travelers from Abuja to the same routes may pay more, in contrast to the past when airline tickets were only expensive from the Lagos route to other parts of the south.
Travelers currently pay more for flights to the South East and South-South regions of the country than for flights to northern destinations like Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna, among others. On the other hand, some stakeholders blamed the holiday season for the high fares on the southern routes, while others expressed concern that the airlines might eventually drive themselves out of business due to the high fares.
The lack of transparency in airline pricing exacerbates the already frustrating situation for passengers. Although airlines argue that rising operational costs contribute to enhanced fares, some travelers feel that they are being taken advantage of. Clearer pricing structures, with detailed breakdowns of taxes and surcharges, would enable passengers to make informed decisions about their travel plans.
Some travelers to the Southern routes may not be able to enjoy the yuletide season due to the high cost of air tickets. Checks on Air Peace, for example, show that the minimum fare for the Tuesday, December 26 flight from Lagos to Enugu is N203,000 one way and N233,000 for the afternoon session.
Aero Contractors’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Capt. Ado Sanusi, claimed that the airfares were exploitative. He claims that certain airfares on specific routes are exploitative, citing the South East and South South routes as examples of routes where airlines take advantage of tourists. He advocated for more airlines to join the current operators and suggested raising capacity.
He said: “I believe that there are some exploitative prices. I believe so, especially on the monopoly routes. The eastern routes are somehow monopolized and come with exploitative prices. “It’s the capacity. If we have more airlines coming into the country and the NCAA allows more airlines to fly, then it will bring the price down. The more airlines we have flying, the more competitive it becomes and the more the prices will go down, but since we make regulations that are so hostile to start-up airlines, then, the prices will always go up.”