The cost of air tickets along several routes have doubled due to the high demand for air travel in light of the rising insecurity in the country and cost of flight operations, findings have shown.
Checks on several airline websites showed that even intending passengers who booked their flights days ahead of departure were also affected.
A check on Friday on the website of Max Air showed that a one-way ticket from Maiduguri to Lagos for Saturday was put at N100,000 while the same flight costs N70,000 for Monday.
A flight from Kano to Abuja on Azman Air on Friday was put at N85,000; the same route for Saturday was put at N61,000.
A flight from Lagos to Abuja via Max Air on Monday was put at N80,000 while the same flight on Aero was fixed at N107,000.
Travelling to Kano State from Lagos on Arik Air on Saturday, cost about N70,618 while the flight would cost N65,564 for the same route on Tuesday.
It was also observed that the Lagos-Port Harcourt route, which is one of the busiest in the country, had also been affected.
A check on Arik Air’s website on Friday showed that there were no available seats till Monday and the price for the four available seats was fixed at N52, 868 each for afternoon flight and at N57,045 for morning.
Overland Airways which travels less busy routes with its much smaller aircraft also hiked its ticket prices.
Ilorin to Abuja flight was put at N56,000 on Saturday and N61, 500 on Sunday; the same route was put at a cost of N56,000 on Tuesday and N52,500 on Wednesday
The increase in the air tickets caused a debate on social media last week as several Nigerians lamented how they had to part with large sums of money to purchase tickets.
Confirming the increments on Friday, the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, told The Punch that airlines could not access foreign exchange at the official rate while the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria had increased its fees
Sanusi said except airlines were given special concessions, the prices would continue to rise and could hit an average of N100,000 for even the Lagos/Abuja route.
He said, “We were buying dollars at N360 and it went to N380 but you can’t get it for less than N480.
“We are paying VAT at 7.5 per cent. We are paying 15 per cent duty on our spare parts. The boarding passes, we pay 15 per cent duty on it.
“The passenger service charge has increased by FAAN. So, don’t look at one component but look at the total reason for the increase.
“Yes, there is an increase in demand but it is caused by the lack of aircraft and this lack of aircraft is caused by unavailability of spare parts which is also caused by dollar scarcity.”
Also speaking, the General Secretary, Aviation Roundtable, Mr Olumide Ohunayo, said there was a connection between the rising airfares and the insecurity in the country.
Lagos based travel agent, Mr Ndudim Nwaoma, said, his encounter with several passengers showed that many were desperate to fly because of the high level of insecurity in the country.