Economy and Business

More woes for Nigerians as local flights skyrocket to N250,000 for economy seats

Air travellers across select routes in Nigeria are experiencing soaring airfares, reaching unprecedented highs that threaten to impede travel during the festive season. 

Indigenous airline operators have significantly raised ticket prices, particularly on routes to the South East and South-South regions, eliciting concerns from passengers and industry stakeholders.

Reports by Nairametrics indicate that airfares on monopolized routes have surged, with one-way tickets priced at over N250,000 for economy class seats and return tickets fetching around N500,000. 

These escalated rates apply to southern routes and flights from Abuja to select destinations, surpassing previous cost patterns.

Contrary to historical trends where higher fares were mainly observed on routes from Lagos to other southern parts, current observations highlight elevated prices for flights from Abuja.

Some stakeholders have cited the festive season and high demand for travel as reasons for the exorbitant airfares, while others caution that these rates might alienate potential travellers from enjoying the yuletide season.

Examples of the inflated rates include Air Peace flights from Lagos to Enugu on December 26, priced at a minimum of N203,000 for one-way travel and up to N233,000 for afternoon flights. Dana Air’s Owerri-bound flights command prices between N200,000 to N250,000 for one-way tickets. 

Similarly, Ibom Air’s flights to Uyo range from N203,000 to N253,000 for one-way travel, while United Nigeria Airlines charges between N220,000 and N300,000 for one-way trips between December 21 and 23.

Aviation experts have criticized these skyrocketing fares, labelling them as exploitative and potentially detrimental to the operating carriers. Capt. Ado Sanusi, CEO of Aero Contractors, highlighted the monopoly and exploitative pricing on routes to the South East and South South as a significant concern. 

He advocated for increased airline capacity and the entry of additional carriers to foster competition and drive down prices.

Sanusi also pinpointed factors such as unstable foreign exchange rates, high aviation fuel prices, and restrictive regulations on start-up airlines as contributors to the soaring airfares. 

He cautioned against pricing strategies that could ultimately push airlines out of the market, emphasizing the need for a more competitive and consumer-friendly pricing environment.

His words: “I believe that there are some exploitative prices. I believe so, especially on the monopoly routes. The eastern routes are somehow monopolised 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.”

With the yuletide season approaching, concerns persist that escalating airfares might continue, adversely impacting travellers and dampening holiday plans.

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