March 9, 2024

Exorbitant airfares not responsible for low level air travel – Airlines

Exorbitant airfares not responsible for low level air travel – Airlines

Exorbitant airfares is not responsible for decreased air travel across Nigeria currently being experienced, airline operators said in Lagos on Saturday.

Those who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the fall in air travel was attributable to normal low season in the industry and not cost of fare.

Fares confirmed online by NAN on Saturday showed that Lagos to Abuja flight on Arik Air costs N132,976; it costs N150,000 on Ibom Air, while United Nigeria Airlines charges N142,500.

Aero Contractors’ fare on Saturday for a flight from Lagos to Abuja was N196,548; Air Peace charged N143,000; Max Airline charged N78,000; and Dana Airlines charged N99,000.

At peak season in December, the same Lagos to Abuja flight costs between N230,000 and N300,000.

Mr Achilleus Uchegbu, Head, Corporate Communications at United Nigeria Airlines, told NAN that in most cases, the cost of ticket had no effect on a passenger’s choice to travel.

“One cannot talk about low capacity when people are travelling; one cannot force people to travel. People travel when they want to travel.

“Based on that, one cannot say that the turnout of passengers is low; there is no study to back that up. Even when fares were very high during Christmas season, people still travelled,’’ he said.

He noted that fluctuating airfares were blamed on unstable foreign exchange rates.

In his reaction, Mr Adebanji Ola, Head of Corporate Communications at Arik Air, said the low season in the industry was not strange as it happened annually.

“There is nothing happening that is new; it is just that this is the low season for the industry. We can begin to assess passenger turnout around April or May,’’ he said.

Mrs Ajoke Yinka-Olawuyi, a senior official of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd., operator of Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Ikeja, noted that the airport was not empty and terminal operations were going smoothly.

She said that with the Christian Lenten season and the Islamic Ramadan fast going on simultaneously, air travel would reduce.

An Abuja-bound air traveller, Mr Doma Doma, told NAN that he would not blame the airlines, as they were bound to review their rates as the exchange rate luctuated. (NAN)