Several airlines operating domestic routes in Nigeria have hiked the prices of their tickets in response to the rush of passengers to reach different destinations, ahead of Christmas.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many airlines have been making good sales of tickets since Thursday as more Nigerians leave the major Nigerian cities, including the capital of Abuja.
The situation was compounded by the work-to-rule measure taken by the cabin crew staff of Arik Air on Friday morning that left many passengers stranded at some airports.
When NAN visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Saturday morning, long queues were observed at the booking stands of all airlines.
More noticeable was the Air Peace and Dana counters at the Terminal D where hundreds of passengers were waiting on the queues to book for their flights and also to check in.
Also, there were long queues at the Terminal B, where Medview, Arik, Azman and First Nation operate from.
On the price of tickets, Mr Abdulahi Saroke, Station Manager of Azman Air, said that tickets now sold between N30,000 and N59,000 for economy class and between N90,000 and N120,000 for business class.
Saroke stated that passengers that booked early were at an advantage over those booking at the counters.
He said that many passengers had travelled between Thursday and Friday, saying that the Saturday traffic would not be as high as previous days.
“The price tickets have gone up since Thursday but those that are booking now are the ones paying higher, while those that booked before now will enjoy low price.
“As at today, the lowest ticket price is N30, 000 on any route while the highest on economy is N59, 000.
“Traffic was more yesterday due to the crisis at Arik when its crew staff embarked on strike,” he said.
Mr Paul Njoku, a traveller and civil servant, said he decided to travel by air since he was not sure of getting fuel for his car to travel by road to Enugu.
Njoku said he paid about N43, 000 for the ticket to travel to Enugu, adding that the ticket price was high.
He called on the Federal Government to take measures toward addressing the current fuel crisis in the country.
According to him, the situation is unbearable because very few people can travel by air while majority travel by road.
“I would have travelled in my car but there is no fuel in the country.
‘‘If it is difficult to get fuel here in Abuja, it will be worse in the state,” he said.
Another traveller, Mrs Mary Bichi, who said she was travelling to Yola to attend her sister’s wedding on Sunday, decried the high cost of flight ticket.
Bichi said she bought her ticket at N37, 000, saying she had booked her flight earlier.
She urged the government to work toward repositioning the economy to improve the livelihoods of Nigerians in 2018.
NAN recalls that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had assured that all airports across the country were fully prepared for the usual surge in passenger traffic that is the norm during the season.
FAAN, in a statement by its General Manager, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, noted that security had been beefed up in all airports, especially at the major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano.
Yakubu said the measure was to ensure that passengers and airport users made use of airport facilities without any security threat