Domestic airline carriers continue to struggle under the weight of the high cost of aviation fuel, popularly known as Jet A1, despite the over 100% increase in tickets.
The issue has gotten worse as the nation's major airports are currently experiencing a sharp decline in passenger flow.
Arik Air, Azman Air, Overland Airways, Air Peace, Max Air, Ibom Air, United Nigeria Airlines, and Green Africa Airways are some of the domestic airlines.
The airlines bemoaned the fact that petroleum products account for around 60% of their daily operating expenses and urged the federal government to intervene more in the fuel supply chain.
As of today, the airlines are now facing low patronage across various routes as a result of the increase in airfares.
A visit to Abuja and Lagos airports showed a scanty terminal with few travellers processing their boarding passes, against the usual surge.
There is also less traffic on the route leading to the airport, against the routine traffic on the road leading to the airports.
Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Transport Fare Watch, for July, 2022, has said the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes, single journey, increased by 8.43 per cent on a month-on-month from ₦56,082.64 in June 2022 to ₦60,811.75 in July 2022.
The report also noted that on year-on-year, the fare rose by 65.34 percent from ₦36,779.73 in July 2021.
A survey of the price of Jet A1, showed that the fuel was sold for ₦903 per litre in Kano; ₦860 in Abuja and ₦740 in Lagos, according to figures obtained from operators.
Contrarily to the NBA report, as a reflection to the development, passengers are now paying as much as ₦200,000 for a return Lagos-Abuja ticket; while Lagos-Kano return is between ₦150,000 and ₦200,000 depending on the time of booking.
Abuja-Kano flight on Max Air is between ₦74,000 and ₦100,000; while it is between ₦74,000 and ₦80,000 on Air Peace.
Also on Max Air, Abuja-Maiduguri is ₦90,000 and Lagos-Kaduna on Azman Air for a Wednesday flight, ₦130,000. A one-way Lagos-Abuja fare is now ₦80,000 and could be as high as ₦150,000 if the travel date is in 24 hours.
Air Peace return ticket from Abuja-Kano is between ₦140,000 and ₦160,000 and one-way, ₦78,000. A return from Abuja-Gombe is ₦150,000 and one-way, ₦75,000. For Abuja-Port Harcourt, a one-way ticket is ₦100,000; Abuja-Lagos, between ₦75,000 and ₦100,000.
The rise in Jet A1 and the reduction in passenger traffic has affected the operations of the airlines, as they are currently struggling to remain in business.
In a chat with the airlines on how the development affected their operation, the Spokesperson of Air Peace, Stanley Olisa, said: “It is clearly impacting the operations of every Nigerian airline, especially in the area of profitability and business sustainability, as the cost of operations keeps increasing.
“At Air Peace, we’re constantly reviewing our operations, analysing the economics of existing route network and deciding on the best strategies to sustain our operations, knowing that we have a market to serve.”
Also, Ibom Air, Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, Annie Essienette, noted that, “The impact is quite obvious as it has led to the increase in airline ticket base fare. Our customers are not very happy about the development, and neither are we.”