Local carriers in Nigeria, Aero Contractors and Dana Air have suspended scheduled commercial flights between Lagos and Accra, Ghana, due to the exorbitant foreign exchange cost.
According to the airlines, it was uneconomical to continue doing business on the route given that charges paid to Ghana’s airport and regulatory agencies by foreign airlines flying into the country are done in foreign currencies, Daily Sun gathered.
A top official of Dana Air said:“Most of our passengers are Nigerians and they usually buy return tickets and pay in naira. But the bulk of the charges we pay in Ghana are in dollars and those charges are so expensive by the time we convert air fares collected in naira to dollars.”
The official noted that under such conditions, making profit becomes Herculian, unless the airlines decide to raise fares, which in itself could only end up in seeing the operators flying half-filled aircraft.
On the other hand, Spokesman for Aero, Simon Tumba, told Daily Sun on phone that the suspension of the Lagos-Accra route was also temporary. He, however, would not link the decision to forex scarcity insisting the major reason for the suspension was due to an ongoing restructuring exercise following the airline’s takeover by a receiver and Arik Air with a new management.
“We now have a new management in place and it has to decide what we can do and what we cannot do to remain in business; and the temporary suspension of the Lagos-Accra flight was one of them,” he said.
The decision leaves limited option to most passengers on that route that fly Dana, Aero Contractors. They are Nigeria’s three airlines operating the lucrative Lagos-Accra route. Their exit, albeit temporarily, leaves only Med-View Airlines on that route.