One-way Economy class tickets on international routes from Nigeria may hit N2 million as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), sets the exchange rate from N663/$1 to N770.
ADULAWO NEWS reports that the change in the exchange rate was as a result of the floating of naira as ordered by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Also, the inability of international airlines to repatriate ticket sales for over a year has contributed to high airfares on Nigerian routes.
It was gathered that at the new IATA Rate of Exchange (IRoE), registered by the Global Distribution System (GDS), a six-hour Lagos-London Economy class ticket sells for between N1.3 million to N2.5 million – subject to airline of choice, place, and time of booking. Its Business class variant sells for between N3.36 million to N4.8 million.
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ADULAWO NEWS recalls that the Economy ticket price was from N400,000 before it jumped to about N1.2 million, while business class tickets ranged from N4 million to N6 million, depending on the airline and booking time. With the new exchange rate, fares are expected to rise further to N2 million.
While stakeholders regretted that the development has further pushed international air travel beyond the reach of average Nigerians, they acknowledged the inherent respite on foreign airlines that are patronising the Investors and Exporters (I&E) FX window for fund repatriation, and reopening of naira inventories to travel agencies in the countries.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the former national Financial Secretary, NANTA, Daisi Olotu, said the increment is affecting the stability of the travel market.
According to Olotu, the exchange rate has brought down the numbers of foreign travellers, thereby urging the airlines to adopt a weekly exchange rate system.
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“The change in exchange rate doesn’t go down well with travelers and travel agents because it reduces the number of people traveling. It also leads to instability in the market. We give a price today and the price changes the following day.
“So, to create stability in the system, they shouldn’t change the exchange rate daily, rather they should adopt a weekly exchange rate system,” Olotu stated.