Some local airline operators at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja have increased their fares due to the current exchange rate.
Officials of the airlines told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday the aviation industry is reliant on the dollar because aircraft parts can only be obtained from abroad.
“We need to catch up with the economy. That is why we increase the fare. If not, we may be left behind and will not be able to fund operations anymore,” Kehinde Ogunyale, Max Air station manager.
“The fare actually went up. From Abuja to Lagos last week, the highest fare was N35,300 (economy class) and N80,000 (business class). From Abuja to Lagos at present, the highest fare is N60,000 (economy class) and N98,000 (business class).”
Ogunyale further explained that the festive season also contributed to the fare increment.
“We are in traditional high season. The demand has outweighed capacity. After this period, we are going to a period called `low season`. That is the middle of January when nobody will want to fly,”
“So, in order to attract passengers, we will need to lower down the prices. As I said, this is the high season.”
Abdulmalik Jibreel, the station manager of Aero Contractors, also said the company had no option than to increase the fare to meet the demand of foreign exchange in the market of aircraft parts.
“Government should make a certain percentage for the airlines of `FOREX` as special price by Central Bank of Nigeria. By so doing, this may make ticket fare to drop,” Jibreel said.
“Government needs to step into the aviation sector because we do not manufacture any part of aircraft in Nigeria. One of the previous administrations in the country once waved custom duty on all spare parts of aircraft.
“Government needs to take all these steps to make the aviation sector viable. If not, masses will pay for it.”