The rising airfares of indigenous airline operators are causing discomfort among air travellers on selected routes in Nigeria.
Monopolised routes’ airfares have risen to over N250,000 one-way in economy class seats, with return tickets now priced at around N500,000.
Air tickets may be higher for passengers from Abuja to the same routes, unlike in the past where tickets only go high from Lagos to other parts of the south.
Air travellers to the South East and South-South regions of Nigeria are now paying more than those on northern routes like Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna.
Stakeholders attribute high southern routes airfares to the festive season, while others warn airlines may price themselves out of the market due to these high prices.
High airfares are causing concerns that some Southern travellers may miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the yuletide season.
For December 26, Air Peace from Lagos to Enugu is priced at a minimum fare of N203,000 one way and N233,000 for the same flight in the afternoon.
Dana Air offers one-way tickets for Owerri with airfares ranging from N200,000 to N250,000.
Ibom Air is offering one-way flights to Uyo from December 22 to 23, with tickets priced between N203,000 and N253,000.
United Nigeria Airlines is offering one-way tickets for passengers from December 21 to 23 at prices between N220,000 and N300,000.
Aviation experts argue that the increasing domestic airfares of indigenous airlines may be exploitative and potentially harm the carriers.
Aero Contractors CEO, Capt. Ado Sanusi, criticized the airlines’ exploitative airfares, particularly on the South East and South South routes.
He proposed increased capacity and additional airlines to join the existing operators, and noted that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s new regulation restricting start-up airlines to six aircraft may exacerbate the current challenge and allow for more exploration by existing carriers.