AIRLINE ticket prices within Nigeria have doubled over recent weeks as the combination of increased demand and reduced capacity as a result of security concerns and the need to effect Covid-19 protocols has led to supply shortages.
Like every other nation, Nigeria has introduced strict coronavirus restrictions that compel airlines to observe certain protocols regarding seating arrangements, which has reduced the number of seats on airlines. This, along with other safety measures they have to effect, has led to increased costs at a time when security concerns is also leading some of them to scale back operations.
Checks on several airline websites showed that even intending passengers who booked their flights days ahead of departure were also affected. For instance, a check 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 cost N70,000 for Monday.
Also, a flight from Kano to Abuja on Azman Air on Friday was put at N85,000 but the same journey for Saturday stood at N61,000. A flight from Lagos to Abuja on Max Air on Monday was put at N80,000 while the same flight on Aero Contractors was fixed at N107,000.
Travelling to Kano from Lagos on Arik Air on Saturday cost about N70,618 while the flight would cost N65,564 for the same route on Tuesday. 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 the morning.
Overland Airways which travels less busy routes with its much smaller aircraft also hiked its ticket prices. An Ilorin to Abuja flight was put at N56,000 on Saturday and N61, 500 on Sunday, yet the same journey cost N56,000 on Tuesday and N52,500 on Wednesday.
This increase in air ticket prices 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, Captain Ado Sanusi, the managing director of Aero Contractors, attributed the problem to the fact that the airlines could not access foreign exchange at the official rate while the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria had increased its fees.