Passengers Face Distress As Airfares Hits N500,000 On Dominant Routes

Passengers Face Distress As Airfares Hits N500,000 On Dominant Routes

Air travellers have faced distress as indigenous airline operators drove up airfares on specific routes in the country, subjecting passengers to exorbitant costs.

Airfares on monopolised routes have surged to over N250,000 for one-way economy class seats, with return tickets now reaching approximately N500,000.

Unlike the past trend, where high airfares were primarily observed from Lagos to other southern destinations, recent checks reveal that passengers travelling from Abuja to these same routes may face even higher costs.

Travel costs have seen a substantial increase in the southern parts of the country, particularly in the South East and South-South regions. Air travellers to these destinations are now paying more than those heading to northern routes such as Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna.

While some stakeholders attribute the surge to the festive season, others caution that airlines may risk pricing themselves out of the market with such high fares.

Concerns arise regarding the potential impact of elevated airfares, particularly during the yuletide season, potentially depriving travellers to the Southern routes of holiday opportunities.

A scrutiny of airfares on various airlines reveals steep prices for popular routes, such as Lagos to Enugu on Air Peace, with one-way fares ranging from N203,000 to N233,000.

Similarly, flights to Owerri on Dana Air command airfares between N200,000 and N250,000 for one-way tickets. Ibom Air offers flights to Uyo from December 22 to 23, with airfares ranging from N203,000 to N253,000 for one-way. United Nigeria Airlines charges N220,000 to N300,000 for one-way tickets on flights from December 21 to 23.

Aviation experts express concerns over the exploitative nature of these airfares, with Capt. Ado Sanusi, the CEO of Aero Contractors, describing them as such.

He emphasised that certain routes, especially in the South East and South South, are being exploited, calling for increased capacity and the inclusion of more airlines to address the escalating challenges.

The recent regulation by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), limiting start-up airlines to a minimum of six aircraft, may exacerbate the situation, encouraging further exploitation by existing carriers as the yuletide season approaches.

He said: “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.

He also cited unstable foreign exchange challenges, the high cost of aviation fuel, and other factors as contributors to the high airfares. However, he issued a warning against the airlines pricing themselves out of the market.

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