AIRLINES are increasing fares from N50,000 to N70,000 following the prolonged scarcity of aviation fuel.
The ICIR had reported that the scarcity of aviation fuel has been forcing major airlines in the country to delay and even cancel flights, as the product sold for close to N700 per litre across the country.
Checks by The ICIR on websites of Air Peace, United Nigeria Airlines, Arik Air, Green Africa and Dana Air showed that one-way ticket prices for Lagos to Abuja were being priced above N50,000 across business and even economy packages. Similarly, it was observed that these airlines were reducing their frequencies to manage the situation.
For Air Peace, one-way tickets from Lagos to Abuja on March 16, 2022, were sold for as high as N70,000. This was observed on 6:30 am, 8:40 am and 10:30 am flights. Our correspondent who checked the site as at March 15, 2022, noticed that the 7:45 am flight was already sold out. The 2:50 pm flight was sold for N55,000 while the 7:30 pm Lagos – Abuja flight was sold for N50,000. The scheduled flights for that location were six in total, according to online checks..
The ICIR discovered that the Economy Non-Flexi Domestic, Premium Economy Domestic and Business class tickets were all sold out, leaving only the Economy Flexi Domestic ticket on sale.
The situation is not likely to be different on March 17, 2022, as the 8:40 am and 7:30 pm flights were all on sale from N70,000. Only the 6:30 am flight was sold from N55,000. The flight frequencies on the same Lagos-Abuja routes were three in total.
For Arik Air, economy flights were still pegged at N47,738 for Wednesday till Saturday on the Lagos – Abuja routes. Checks showed that most of its business class tickets which went for an average of N83,000 had been sold out for both Thursday and Friday. Also, the 7:00 am flights on economy for March 16, 2022, were already selling for N52,024.
On Dana Air, the frequencies for Lagos to Abuja on March 16 were down to four flights. For the Economy Discount, all four flights set for 6:45 am, 10:50 am, 3:05 pm and 5:10 pm were N50,000. However on the Economy Saver and Economy Flexible, some of these flights sold between N54,900 to N58,500.
Green Africa’s two flight frequencies for Lagos – Abuja were going for N45,000 on March 16, 2022. It hovered between N41,500 and N37,501 between Thursday and Saturday.
The flights for United Nigeria Airlines are stable at N50,000 from Wednesday, March 16, 2022 till Sunday, March 20, 2022. The flight frequencies on Friday, March 18, 2022, are just three, with two already sold out.
During an investigative hearing on scarcity of aviation fuel by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on March 14, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) agreed to peg the price of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) also known as Jet A1 fuel at N500 per litre from the current price of N630.
The new price will be in place for 72 hours, after which the marketers and the AON are to agree on new price modalities.
The chairperson of MOMAN, Olumide Adeosun, said the marketers have been selling fuel to the operators on credit.
“For most of the airlines, we have increased their credit — for Arik we were trading N115 million at the end of the year. We are now at N150 million, for Air Peace, we were at N120 million, but now we are at N200 million. At any given period, those accounts are delinquent. That is a fact,” he said.
During the hearing, the Chairperson of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said the operators would be forced to increase flight to N120,000 per ticket for economy class.
According to Onyema, it costs operators N7 million to fly from Abuja to Kano on a standard 130-seater aircraft.
On March 16, Air Peace, in a statement, attempted to withdraw Onyema’s statement by terming it “a piece of misinformation.”
The statement read: “Onyema was reported to have said ‘airlines will increase ticket fare to N120,000 naira’. This statement was clearly taken out of context by the media. These were his exact words: “From what is happening, if we continue this way (the increasing fuel price), the least ticket you’ll expect from airlines will be N120,000 for Economy and we don’t want to do that because it will not help the ordinary man”.
“The Air Peace Chairman has the interest of the flying public at heart and will not make statements or take actions that suggest the contrary. Also, he made those statements under the auspices of the AON and not Air Peace,” the statement read.
MOMAN has accused many airline operators of owing marketers and other industry players millions of naira. Its Executive Secretary, Clement Isong advised that the airlines adopt a pricing formula for the procurement of aviation fuel.