Airlines Blame Dollar Scarcity As Reason For High Airfares

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Airlines have attributed the skyrocketing airfares, which have elicited disaffection from travelers to the scarcity of dollars and the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to THISDAY, the airlines, in separate interviews warned travelers to brace for a higher fare regime as economic indicators show that the problems are not likely to abate soon.

From N28, 000 for a one-hour flight after the high season in December 2020, the average cost of a one-hour ticket has now risen to N60, 000 for a one-way ticket and could rise as high as N120, 000 if a passenger buys a ticket on the day he is travelling.

The airlines attributed the soaring airfares to dollar scarcity, which has forced them to resort to the parallel market for the greenback.

They appealed for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to create special forex window for aviation.

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They also attributed the hike in fare to the fact that many aircraft that were taken out of the country for maintenance were yet to be brought back because of the pandemic, which has hindered activities in some countries.

Owing to this, Nigerian carriers have a limited fleet but high demand for air travel, as insecurity continues to discourage many people from traveling by road.
The Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, stated that airfares are high because of forex scarcity.

“Airfares are high because of forex and we buy dollars from the parallel market. When you look at the prices of tickets, they don’t reflect the actual cost of operation. If they do, they will be higher than what we sell tickets now, but competition has kept the fares relatively low.

“We need dollars for most of the things we do in aviation. We buy spares in dollars and we source dollar at N500 per dollar. Just imagine the cost if you want to import an aircraft engine. So the high cost of fares is because of forex,” she explained.

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