The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed a surge in the Airfares and bus commuters in various parts of the country in the last one year.
Investors King obtained an NBS report titled, ‘Transport Fare Watch for April 2022′ which covers the bus journey within the city per drop constant route; bus journey intercity, state route, charge per person; airfare charge for specified routes single journey; journey by motorcycle (Okada) per drop; and waterway passenger transport.
The reports reveal that on a month-to-month basis, the average fare paid by air passengers for specific routes on a single voyage grew by 18.57 percent from N46,810.62 in March 2022 to N55,501.49 in April 2022. This means that the fare increased 52.44 percent year over year from N36,409.46 in April 2021.
The average intercity bus fare paid by commuters increased by 8.75 percent from N3,270.94 in March 2022 to N3,557.15 in April 2022. On a year-over-year basis, however, it increased by 45.38 percent from N2,446.86 in April 2021. Similarly, the average bus ticket paid by commuters within the city each drop grew by 6.39 percent month over month, from N536.35 in March 2022 to N570.64 in April 2022. On a year-on-year basis, this rose by 47.80% from N386.10 in April 2021.
A different section of the report states that the average fare paid by commuters for motorbike trips grew by 8.03 percent month over month, from N395.12 in March 2022 to N426.84 in April 2022. The ticket increased by 54.48 percent year over year from N276.30 in April 2021. Furthermore, from N900.84 in March 2022 to N951.93 in April 2022, the average fare paid for water transportation (waterway passenger transportation) grew by 5.67 percent month over month. This increased by 16.06 percent year over year from N820.23 in April 2021.
On state profile analysis, Taraba recorded the highest air transport charges (for specified routes single journey) in April 2022 with N65,000.00, followed by Kogi with N64,258.91, while Kano recorded the least with N50,000.00.
Analysis by zone also showed that the North-Central recorded the highest airfare in April, 2022 with N57,552.54, followed by the North-East with N56,800.16, while the South-East had the least with N53,402.58.
Investors King suggests the increase in prices is linked to recent issues faced by local airlines, ranging from energy price spikes to a lack of access to foreign money.
About four months ago, Investors King gathered that the airline tickets will rise as a result of the increase in aviation fuel which was N400 per litre, and other operational costs which include airport charges.
Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, the Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines explained that domestic airlines were operating in a difficult environment.
He said “the first foreign exchange transaction we did when we started was N340. But now, when it is available, it is N450 but when it is not available, the alternative black market cost is N570. It might surprise you to know that despite such increase, today, because of the market situation, you still can buy your ticket at N20,000 or N21,000.
“What this means is that since all the airlines are buying from the same market, any ticket at this rate is being subsidised by the airlines. Aviation fuel, depending on how it is applied in the aircraft, can easily become 30 to 40 per cent of the cost component of your operations.”
Nigeria Holds $783 Million in Blocked Funds, IATA Engages with Government for Resolution
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that as of August Nigeria holds approximately $783 million in blocked funds belonging to various airlines.
This significant financial concern was communicated via an official statement released by the trade association.
Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, has been actively engaged in discussions with the Federal Government in an effort to find a resolution to this pressing issue.
Foreign airlines operating within Nigeria have faced ongoing challenges in repatriating their commercial revenues due to a prolonged shortage of foreign exchange in the country.
The official statement from IATA stated, “Mr. Al Awadhi also held discussions with Nigeria’s newly appointed Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Honorable Minister Festus Keyamo. During these discussions, he urged the new government to maintain and strengthen consultations with the industry while developing both short-term and long-term solutions to address foreign exchange access issues for both domestic and foreign carriers.”
Highlighting the severity of the situation, the statement said, “As of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783 million of airlines’ blocked funds.”
According to the statement, IATA commends the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for its commitment to enhancing infrastructure and service standards at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within a twelve-month timeframe.
In related news, IATA had previously raised concerns about safety, security, and passenger service levels at Lagos Airport in the past year.
A recent high-level meeting between IATA and FAAN, represented by Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Kabir Mohammed, concluded with FAAN committing to expedite improvements in these areas as part of a corrective action plan.
Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, said, “We welcome FAAN’s commitment to upgrade Lagos Airport, which serves as a vital domestic and international hub connecting Nigeria to the rest of Africa and beyond. This strategic focus not only strengthens the aviation sector but also acts as a catalyst for Nigeria’s broader economic and social progress. IATA is ready to provide support and expertise to FAAN to ensure that international standards are met through the corrective action plan. Safety, security, and efficient infrastructure are crucial for a well-functioning air transport system, as is the ability of airlines to access the revenues they generate in Africa.”
Federal Government Reopens D Wing of Murtala Muhammed International Airport
In a bid to address the escalating flight disruptions and enhance the efficiency of air travel, the Federal Government has officially reopened the D Wing of the old international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The move is part of a broader effort to tackle the challenges faced by both travelers and airlines operating in Nigeria.
This challenge emerged following the sudden relocation of foreign airlines from the international terminal of the Lagos airport to an adjoining new terminal that opened in March.
The announcement of the reopening of the old international terminal, which had temporarily closed for renovation, was made by the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, on Monday.
According to a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs & Consumer Protection at FAAN (Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria), Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, Minister Keyamo emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to improving the aviation sector and ensuring passengers enjoy a seamless travel experience.
The statement reads in part, “We are pleased to inform the traveling public that Hon. Minister of Aviation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, has graciously permitted the use of the D Wing of the Old Murtala Muhammed International Terminal to complement the New International Terminal, aimed at facilitating the smooth movement of passengers through the airport.”
Minister Keyamo had originally ordered airlines to relocate to the new terminal starting on October 1, 2023. However, FAAN took the initiative to forcibly relocate the international carriers to the new facility on Wednesday.
The sudden relocation by FAAN coincided with a fire incident that occurred in part of the baggage hall of MMIA on the same day. This incident compelled the agency to evacuate passengers and personnel from the facility.
In response to the situation, Mr. Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, the Director of Media at FAAN, stated that the airport fire and other developments affecting power supply had necessitated the abrupt relocation of foreign carriers. He assured the public that FAAN is actively addressing the situation.
The utilization of the D Wing for passenger processing has already commenced, promising improved travel experiences for all passengers.
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