Nigerian airlines say the hike in flight fares is as a result of the current exchange rate.
The airlines disclosed this on Monday during an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), it was stated that a dollar that was N365 recently went up to N480/N500.
According to Max Air Station Manager, Kehinde Ogunyale, Nigerian airlines service and maintain their aircraft outside the country and the industry is negatively affected based on the dollar increase.
“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.
“The fare actually went up. For Abuja to Lagos route last week, highest fare was 35, 300 (Economy Class) and 80,000 (Business Class).
“From Abuja to Lagos at present, highest fare is 60, 000 (Economy Class) and 98,000 (Business Class),“ he added.
Mr Ogunyale further said the festive season also contributed to fare hike.
“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. Like I said, this is the `high season,’’ he maintained.
The Station Manager of Aero Contractors, Abdulmalik Jibreel, said the company had increased the fares due to dollar to Naira exchange rate couple with high demand of tickets by passengers.
According to him, the airlines has no option than to increase the fare to meet 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.
“Government needs to step into aviation sector because we do not manufacture any part of air craft in Nigeria. One of the previous administrations in the country once waved custom duty on all spare parts of air craft.
“Government needs to take all these steps to make aviation sector viable. If not, masses will pay for it, “ he added.
Some passengers ,who spoke with the media house, lamented of the excessive fare hike. Thereby begging airlines to reduce the price so as to encourage Nigerians to patronise the air travel operators.
James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, told NAN that the ministry did not have power to fix ticket prices for any airlines.
According to him, the aviation is a regulated sector.
“Masses should learn to patronize the ones with lower prices. The others will be forced to go with market forces. It is all about forces of demand and supply.”