Travel Relief: Airfares Plummet as Competition Heats Up

Nigeria Passengers flying on international routes are experiencing a welcome relief as airfares begin to decline. 

This trend is evident with African, European, and Middle Eastern airlines offering reduced prices to attract more customers. 

The recent entry of a Nigerian airline Air Peace into international routes has played a significant role in this development.

This positive development is likely as a result of many factors.

Online booking platforms are flooded with discounted airfares from various airlines operating in Nigeria, some with multiple flights weekly. The reasons behind this reduction in fares are multifaceted. 

Firstly, the clearance of trapped funds of foreign airlines by the Central Bank of Nigeria has contributed to the drop in prices. Additionally, interventions by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, including requesting foreign airlines to release their lower inventories, have further facilitated this downward trend. 

The strengthening of the naira against the dollar has also played a role, as well as the entry of a Nigerian airline Air Peace into the Lagos-London route.

Although airfares are not yet as affordable as they were three years ago, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, sees this as a positive sign that government efforts are yielding results. 

“And that has helped the fares to some extent but at least in a situation where economy was going for N7m because of the rate of exchange, now we are having an economy of N2.7m and in some cases N1.8m and you can get economy to London N1.7m, N1.8m”.

Dr. Kingsley Nwokoma, President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria, commends the government’s recent steps, indicating their commitment to supporting Nigerian airlines and ensuring passengers benefit from competitive fares.

“This will not only boost the business in the industry but would also increase the number of passengers I cannot but acknowledge the fact that progress is being made to reposition the aviation Industry”.

Acting Director General of Civil Aviation, Captain Chris Najomo, assures the public of fair competition while emphasizing consumer protection. 

“It is a manifestation of the positive effects of healthy competition which implies giving Nigerians travellers viable alternatives. Such a movement can have a multiplier effect of forcing down the airfares of foreign airlines”.

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, pledges concrete actions to support indigenous airlines on both local and international routes. 

He promises not only passenger comfort but also competitive prices and the breaking of monopolies on certain routes.

“Other airlines have opened up their lower fare tickets to Nigerians to breaking the monopoly on this routes, for so many years UK has 21 slots into our country every week and so we are to compete on that level”.

Mr. Keyamo acknowledges the longstanding challenge of local airlines regarding maintenance facilities on international routes but assures that the government is engaging with international investors to address this issue. 

“The Chinese are talking to us, the Arabs are talking to us, the Americans are talking to us they all want to come and do this on a PPP, now we are spoilt for choice, everybody wants to come and invest in Nigeria”.

With these concerted efforts, the future looks promising for both Nigerian airlines and passengers seeking affordable travel options on international routes.

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