Nigeria: Air Peace, Ibom Air, 6 Others Count Losses, As Passenger Traffic Drops

DESPITE increasing airfares by over 100 per cent, domestic airline operators are still groaning under the weight of high cost of aviation fuel, also known as Jet Al.

The problem has escalated, as they are currently witnessing massive drop in passenger traffic across the major airports in the country.

The domestic airlines include Arik Air, Azman Air, Overland Airways, Air Peace, Max Air, Ibom Air, United Nigeria Airlines, and Green Africa Airways.

The airlines had lamented that petroleum product contributes about 60 per cent of their daily running cost, and called on the Federal Government to increase its intervention in sourcing of fuel.

As of today, the airlines are now facing low patronage across various routes as a result of the increase in airfares.

A visit to Abuja and Lagos airports showed a scanty terminal with few travellers processing their boarding passes, against the usual surge.

There is also less traffic on the route leading to the airport, against the routine traffic on the road leading to the airports.

Fuel price

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Transport Fare Watch, for July, 2022, has said the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes, single journey, increased by 8.43 per cent on a month-on-month from N56,082.64 in June 2022 to N60,811.75 in July 2022.

The report also noted that on year-on-year, the fare rose by 65.34 percent from N36,779.73 in July 2021.

A survey of the price of Jet A1, showed that the fuel was sold for N903 per litre in Kano; N860 in Abuja and N740 in Lagos, according to figures obtained from operators.

Contrarily to the NBA report, as a reflection to the development, passengers are now paying as much as N200,000 for a return Lagos-Abuja ticket; while Lagos-Kano return is between N150,000 and N200,000 depending on the time of booking.

Abuja-Kano flight on Max Air is between N74,000 and N100,000; while it is between N74,000 and N80,000 on Air Peace.

Also on Max Air, Abuja-Maiduguri is N90,000 and Lagos-Kaduna on Azman Air for a Wednesday flight, N130,000. A one-way Lagos-Abuja fare is now N80,000 and could be as high as N150,000 if the travel date is in 24 hours.

Air Peace return ticket from Abuja-Kano is between N140,000 and N160,000 and one-way, N78,000. A return from Abuja-Gombe is N150,000 and one-way, N75,000. For Abuja-Port Harcourt, a one-way ticket is N100,000; Abuja-Lagos, between N75,000 and N100,000.

Airlines count loses

The rise in Jet A1 and the reduction in passenger traffic has affected the operations of the airlines, as they are currently struggling to remain in business.

In a chat with the airlines on how the development affected their operation, the Spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, said: “It is clearly impacting the operations of every Nigerian airline, especially in the area of profitability and business sustainability, as the cost of operations keeps increasing.

“At Air Peace, we’re constantly reviewing our operations, analysing the economics of existing route network and deciding on the best strategies to sustain our operations, knowing that we have a market to serve.”

Also, Ibom Air, Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, Annie Essienette, noted that, “The impact is quite obvious as it has led to the increase in airline ticket base fare. Our customers are not very happy about the development, and neither are we.”

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