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Fares crash by over 50% as foreign airlines release lower tickets

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Experts and stakeholders have projected a further reduction in international airfares as prices of tickets have reduced by over 50 per cent in recent times, findings by Daily Trust have shown.

The fare reduction was attributed to the reduction in rate of exchange, the pressure by the federal government on foreign airlines to open lower tickets and Saturday’s commencement of flights to the United Kingdom by a Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, which has broken the duopoly of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic on the Lagos-London direct flight.

Analysis of airfares by our correspondent indicated that the fares have gone down by over 50 per cent in the last six months.

The Lagos-London route continues to be a reference point because of its busy nature with Nigerians thronging the United Kingdom for business, and education, among others.

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As of July last year, checks on British Airways, the UK carrier, indicated that a Lagos-London one-way economy ticket cost 2,698 pounds or N2.7m at the N907 rate of exchange at the time.

But despite the rise in exchange rate at N1,300 as of yesterday, the same airline’s one-way ticket costs between N1,025,280 and N1.3m for a flight within the first week of April.

On Saturday, Air Peace reactivated Nigeria’s bilateral air service agreement (BASA) with the United Kingdom by flagging off a direct flight to London-Gatwick.

However, checks by our correspondent indicated that the entry of Air Peace into the route has drastically reduced the fare with major airlines quoting fares as low as $700 (N910,000 at N1,300/$).

The lowest fare for a Lagos-London one-way flight on KLM is $641 (N833,300) from over $1,500 a few weeks ago. Also, Turkish Airlines quoted $828 (N1.076,400) for April. The same Turkish Airlines once sold a one-way flight for over N5m.

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Virgin Atlantic’s ticket goes for N1.8m for one-way. Lufthansa’s lowest fare for the same flight is $941 (N1.2m). 

Travel experts confirmed a drastic reduction in air fares which they attributed to the commencement of flights by Air Peace, among other factors.

The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) confirmed that airfares are coming down in recent times attributing the crash to major factors including a reduction in the rate of exchange from N1,800 a few weeks ago to N1,300.

The President of NANTA, Susan Akporiaye, in an interview with our correspondent said more reduction in airfares is expected with a downward reduction in rate of exchange.

She said, “The airfares are already coming down with the airline’s rate of exchange reducing to N1,300 as against N1,700 and N1,800. Now the fare that was over N2m before is now around N1m. We know that the rate of exchange is also a major part of it and of course, Air Peace’s coming in.”

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‘Air Peace needs to watch out’  

The NANTA president warned that Air Peace must be cognizant of the reduction in the airline’s rate of exchange which might force other airlines to crash prices.

“You can imagine if the rate of exchange goes to N800, we would be having N700,000 tickets to London. So once the rate drops, their prices could be lower than Air Peace’s because they are priced in dollars. The major reason behind this drastic drop is this rate of exchange. So even Air Peace has to watch out because once the rate drops to N1000, the direct flight we were getting for N1.4m now would be less than N1m.”

 





Source link: Daily Trust/

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