By John Ikani
The sudden increase of airlines minimum fare from the lows of N23,300 to N50,000 has continued to draw reactions from Nigerians.
Before the 100%+ increase, fares hovered between N23,300 and N48,000 and peaked at N70,000 during the last festive season.
Over weekend, the cost of air tickets of major airlines like Azman, Dana, Aero contractors, Max Air, Ibom Air and Air Peace, skyrocketed to a minimum of N50,000, about 115 per cent increase from N23,300 minimum rate.
The development was worsened by elimination of discounts which travellers usually enjoy whenever they book ahead.
Meanwhile, Airline Operators of Nigeria attribute the hike to the high cost of jet fuel, foreign exchange scarcity, inflation, increase in ground handling charges, as well as cost of buying and importation of spare parts.
The association in a statement released last week, noted that aviation fuel rose from N190 per litre to N410 in Lagos, N422 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N429 in Kano.
Reacting to the development, Nigerians took turns to interrogate what they described as a ridiculous move and called on Government to intervene.
Gabriel Eyo, a Medical Doctor in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State said, “Even road transport companies have increased their bus fares. Everyone is attributing this hike to the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country.”
@anembaben in a tweet said, “I seriously feel so sorry for Corpers that would have to fly for Camp. This fee is outrageous. Yet the travel allowance by NYSC is N3,200. Allowance is N33k. You spend N100k on transportation to collect 33k.”
Mustapha Taofeek, an Abuja resident who planned to travel by air to Port Harcourt, said he could not afford N50,000 as air ticket.
“I have decided to join God is Good first class motors. Even when I am trying to book ahead for my trips, airlines are asking me to pay N50,000. That is ridiculous,” he told newsmen.
“Government must intervene,” @esangsmart said in another tweet.