Arik, Air Peace, others doubles fare ahead of July 8 resumption

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Ahead of the July 8 resumption of domestic flights, Passengers will be made to pay double for flight tickets as airlines have jacked up their fares to meet up with the challenges of the four months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had announced that domestic flights would resume on July 8 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. The Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports would reopen on July 11, while other airports across the country will join on July 15.

All the eight operating airlines had expressed readiness to hit the airspace from next week, though not all were deemed ready by the NCAA.

Virtually all airlines have jacked up their fares by at least 75 per cent ahead of the resumption of domestic flights fares in a bid to abide by the social distancing protocol for all air travellers.

Dana Airline has increased its fares for Economy Discount Class of seat from N18, 000 to N33, 300, while the Business Flexible that sold for N73, 000 before the lockdown would sell for N162, 000 for Lagos-Abuja route.

The cheapest class for Air Peace that sold for N23, 000 for Lagos-Abuja route before the lockdown now sells for N33, 001.

While Dana increases fares by 75 per cent, Air Peace jacked up by 43 per cent. Arik hiked its fares for the cheapest class from N21, 000 before the lockdown to N27, 000, which represents a 29 per cent increase.

Azman Air, Aero Contractor and Ibom Air, which just acquired its fourth Bombardier C900, were yet to load flight schedule and fares for flight resumption.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has made good its threat to enforce strict COVID-19 related safety guidelines, as its grounded 18 aircraft over non-compliance.

While the NCAA has also reiterated its plans not to allow non-compliant operators to resume flight next week, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has also issued mandatory safety protocols for all intending passengers.

Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, at a virtual forum with all stakeholders, said the body was not settling for less, as a total of eight commercial air planes had already been taken out of operations, while the formal sanction to ground another 10 was issued on Friday.