Nigerians are set to bear the brunt of escalating flight ticket prices as aviation fuel costs soar to over N1300.
The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) raised the alarm over the high operational expenses airlines face, despite the recent improvement in the naira to the dollar exchange rate, which now stands at over N1400 to a dollar.
According to the operators, the increasing cost of aviation fuel, now priced at N1300 per litre, poses a significant challenge for airlines.
They noted that the lack of stability in foreign exchange rates further compounds the situation, making it difficult for them to plan effectively and causing uncertainty in their operations.
Professor Obiora Okonkwo, the Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines and spokesperson for AON, emphasized the severe impact of these challenges on the airline industry.
He said travellers who had purchased forward tickets when aviation fuel was priced at N700 per litre and the exchange rate was N800/$1 now face airlift costs based on the current prices, resulting in substantial losses for the airlines.
He added that the situation has led to the grounding of aircraft due for maintenance, as airlines struggle to secure the needed foreign exchange.
Okonkwo called for urgent government intervention to prevent many airlines from going under, emphasizing the broader economic implications of the shrinking passenger traffic caused by increased operational costs and reduced travel for social engagements.
As a result, Nigerians may soon experience higher flight ticket prices, reflecting the economic pressures faced by the airline industry.