Friday, 03 July 2020 05:25

Domestic airlines jerk up air fares as airports reopen

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Local airlines yesterday marketed new fare rates as part of the preparation for flight resumption in the Covid-19 era. Some of the operators, apparently in line with the expected hike in fares and higher cost of operations, have raised fares from the average of N24,000 for one-way one-hour flight to N30,000, for a start.

However, central to the airlines is the new safety protocols that mandate all intending passengers to make bookings and check-in online, arrive early at the airports, submit selves for checks and screenings and properly kitted with face masks.

Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, recently announced that domestic flights would resume on July 8. Sirika also disclosed that only Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos would commence operations on July 8.

Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Maiduguri airports will reopen to flights on July 11, while other airports across the country will join on July 15.

All the eight operating airlines yesterday expressed readiness to hit the airspace from next week.

Reporters observed that the opening Lagos to Abuja economy flights readily sells for N29,189 on Arik Air. Business class sells from N89,952 upwards. Economy return fare was from N53,000, while business class return was pegged at N199,867.

Air Peace airlines opened with fairly higher rate of N33,000 on one-way economy class ticket. The business fare starts from N66,000.

Chief Operating Officer of one of the local carriers said times were indeed different, with fresh safety hurdles for operators to comply with and attendant high cost of operations.

Aviation consultant, Mr Chris Aligbe, expressed satisfaction with the staggered resumption programme and efforts of all operators amid higher cost of operations across board.


The Guardian