Hundreds of intending passengers were yesterday stranded at the two domestic Lagos airports over hike in fares by airline operators. The operators capitalised on the Christmas rush to increase their fares.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the air ticket for an hour flight currently ranged from N30, 000 to N43, 000, depending on the carrier.
This was against N18,000 to N30,000 a few days ago. Officials of some of the airlines said the rush for tickets was more pronounced on Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Owerri, Calabar and Port Harcourt routes.
The carriers currently operating commercial services in the country are Arik Air, Aero Contractors, IRS Airlines, Med-View Air and Overland.
Findings at the Lagos airports as well as enquiries from airline representatives showed that the average fare on the Lagos-Enugu route, which was less than 45 minutes, was N35, 000 as against N20, 000 about two months ago.
Similarly, the Lagos-Abuja route attracted an average ticket price of N40, 000. This was against an average of N24, 000 recorded some weeks ago.
On the Lagos-Port Harcourt and Lagos-Owerri routes, it costs between N38, 000 and N45,000.
NAN recalls that, Mr Yakubu Dati, the General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had on Dec. 11 advised Nigerians to make use of passenger service portals.
Dati said that this was to help them plan their trips ahead in order to avoid last-minute stress.
He said the platforms empower passengers with tools to make the traveling experience seamless for them during periods when there is an upsurge in demand for air transports
Some of the passengers who spoke to NAN wondered why fares were always hiked during the festive periods. Mr Olumide Faleti, a traveler who was heading to Enugu from Abuja said: “it is funny how things operate here. This is a time to share and not to exploit your passengers.”
According to him, domestic airlines should learn to introduce low cost promotional fares to attract travelers instead of exploiting passengers as a result of the season.
He regretted the dearth of local carriers in the sector, adding that, the few in the business were cashing on the development at the detriment of their customers.
Another passenger, Dr Mayowa Olawale, said before now he had been searching for low cost fares online but could not get any. “I’m on my way to Abuja where my parents reside. I searched on the Internet for promotional fares but was disappointed when I found out that all the carriers going my way had their ticket prices above N35, 000,” he said.
Meanwhile, some ticketing officers, who pleaded anonymity, said that the difference in airfares when compared to what they used to be was normal at this period.
“It is normal for airfares to rise, especially during Christmas and as the year comes to an end. It is not only our airline that has increased fares,” he said.
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