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Concerns Mount Over Airfare On Lagos-London Route

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Lagos travellers pay 439% more

Why we charge different fares from Nigeria-London — BA

Passengers travelling from Lagos to London in the coming days might be forced to travel through Abuja to their destination.

This is coming on the heels of massive differential in airfares for passengers travelling to Heathrow Airport, London through Lagos and those going through Abuja.

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Findings by Vanguard Aviation World show that passengers flying on one-way economy ticket through Abuja on British Airways, BA, pay $501 (about N222,093) while those travelling through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as $2,700 (about N1,196,910)

Also, passengers travelling through Ethiopian Airline on one-way economy ticket through Abuja pay N700,000, while those going through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as N2.8million.

The fare differentials, according to industry operators may not be unconnected to demand and supply differentials but also noted that the distance is almost same for the two routes.

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Vanguard gathered that flights from London to Abuja take six hours, and 20 minutes, while flights to Lagos from London take six hours and 25 minutes.

Though Air France maintains same fares from both routes the amount is also high at $2,141 (about …) on similar ticket class for a one-way journey.

READ ALSO: Woman Allegedly Sponsors Boyfriend’s UK Trip With Stolen Funds

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Passengers’ reactions
A traveller who spoke to Vanguard about the development lamented her amazement to the development.

According to her, “I was to travel to London next week. So in a bid to ensure i pay less, I open the booking portal of BA, I was in Abuja and I mistakenly clicked on Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, and i was taken to the price to my amazement, the price i saw there was $2,700 I was shocked.

“I had to check very well to see if i had punched something odd. I realised I inputted Lagos instead of Abuja. So I had to readjust and the price I finally saw was far lower. This was quite outrageous as it was not supposed to be so.”

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Another traveller who spoke to Vanguard Aviation World, said: “Why will Ethiopian Airline, and Africa airline put their airfare to London this high? I was expecting their price to be lesser than others but I was wrong.

“Even the price in Lagos differs by a far margin. Why would it be so?

“The ministry responsible should look into it, as for me it can only be attributed to extortion.”

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Why our airfares differ in Nigeria – BA

Speaking to Vanguard Aviation World on the situation, BA’s Spokesperson, Josephine Simmons, explained that airfares can differ due to availability, airport taxes and other factors.

She stated: “Prices differ by airport due to numerous factors including customer demand and fare charges – including airport taxes.

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“Most customers book their flights in advance, benefiting from competitive fares.

Other stakeholders comment
The development has created a series of reactions from both stakeholders and travellers across the country.

While some stakeholders attributed the development to the exploitation of Nigeria’s passengers, others stated that the less demand in Abuja was strengthened by the security challenges.

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According to the Principal Partner, Avaero Capital, Sindy Foster, the development possibly might be due to more demand than supply in Lagos.

“If BA had more demand from Abuja price would probably be higher. Most people are not flying direct between Abuja and London. I expect demand for Abuja went down due to security issues.”

Flights tend to be lower if there is more supply against demand. It is good that prices have come down in Abuja. Will be interesting to work out why they are still high in Lagos. I suspect there is less demand for Abuja.

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The chairman of United Nigeria Airline, Obiora Okonkwo, said: “Why do foreign airlines charge Nigeria so much?

“In the aviation industry, one-hour flight fuel consumption is the same, the only difference is maybe different landing charges in London or Ghana, the rest is the same.

“I can assure you that if Air Peace goes to London today, Nigerians will fly to London with an Economy ticket of N500,000. Today the price is about N2 million, why should we pay such if they are converting from N450 to $1?

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“We owe Nigerians this explanation. However, whatever is going on, this is a wake-up call that the local operators have to be supported as they have all it takes to operate internationally.

“Emirates have over $5 billion in support from their government. When we ask for support, it is not free, we pay back. American Airlines have equity of over $60 billion and a debt profile of $70 billion and those debts all come from government support.

“If the local airlines are supported, we can have the capacity that cannot be threatened globally. The easiest flight to operate is a long haul. Short haul is even more difficult as it is stressful to both the aircraft and cabin crew.

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“It is even easier to go to London, aviation is the same globally, you are audited by IOSA, IATA and that is, they prevented us and make us looks bad.

“They are also aware that our quality and regulatory standards are high. We get crews and captains coming to Nigeria and they fail our exams and we send them back.”

Foreign airlines frequency in Nigeria
It would be recalled that Nigeria, a destination of over 22 foreign carriers, manages Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASA, with over 78 countries.

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These airlines operate daily, and weekly in Nigeria.

Ethiopian and ASKY, Togolese airline also operated by Ethiopian Airline, together operate 54 frequencies weekly in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Oil-producing States Borrow N1.3tn Amid N6.4tn Windfall

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African World Airways (AWA) has 49 frequencies per week; British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate 21 frequencies weekly into Nigeria; EgyptAir with 16; Air France 15; Saudi Arabian Airways 13; Emirates 11; Lufthansa 11; Air Cote d’Ivoire10; Qatar 9; South African Airways 7.

Others were Delta, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, Sudan Airways, and Turkish Airways, which enjoy seven frequencies without reciprocity from Nigerian airlines.

Also, Etihad has five frequencies; Fly Mid Africa has four; Middle East Airlines – has four and Air Italy formerly Meridiana has three weekly flights to the country.

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50% PoS Operators Close Shops Over Naira Scarcity

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Over 50 per cent of Point of Sale operators have closed their shops as scarcity of new and old naira notes bites harder, it has been learnt.

The National Chief Aggregating Officer of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Hussein Olanrewaju, who made this disclosure on Monday, said the impact of the ongoing shortage of new and old naira notes had worsened the plight of their members.

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While noting that agents should be given preferential treatment in access to the new notes, he lamented that some Nigerians had taken advantage of the situation to charge unreasonable fees.

He said, “Operators are licensed bodies that provide platforms which agents leverage on. Currently, agents do not have any preferential treatment to deliver this service, hence, more than 50 per cent of agent shops have been closed down as we speak.

“Some agents, however, go extreme to buy these monies and those who do not, move from one ATM point to another incurring lot of cost in the process which will also reflect on the service charge.

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“It’s worthy to note that some Nigerians have taken advantage of this situation to charge people unreasonable charges.”

Hussein further stressed that the ongoing policy meant to swap cash in unbanked areas might not achieve its mandate due to the low number of agents selected for the scheme.

READ ALSO: nairaFuel, Naira Scarcity: Osun CSOs Accuse Buhari, Emefiele Of Insensitivity

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He added that including more agents remained the best solution to easing the financial stress Nigerians were currently facing.

“As designed by the CBN, the exercise is going as expected. However, it doesn’t really translate to profit for agents. Out of over 1.4 million agents, only 30,000 agents were picked to participate in the cash swap programme, the number is too small and can barely effect any change.

“Agents are the ones available and accessible to ease the financial stress Nigerians are currently facing,” he concluded.

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Naira Scarcity: Fashola Advises CBN What To Do

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has advised the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review its naira swap policy to reverse its negative impact on Nigerians.

Fashola, who made a live appearance on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict on Monday, was reacting to the outcry over the widespread scarcity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes since they were unveiled on November 23, 2022.

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According to the CBN, the old versions of those denominations will no longer be legal tenders after February 10, 2023 as the apex bank targets hoarders of illicit funds in the buildup to the general elections.

READ ALSO: ‘I Paid N1,000 For A Litre:’ Oshiomhole Laments Fuel Scarcity, Price Hike

The minister bemoaned the hardship brought on by the directive of the apex bank, saying it was imperative that public officeholders reviewed their policies when they had the opposite effect than desired.

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I empathise with those challenges but some of them are the result of policy and it is the responsibility of public servants, especially those responsible for those policies to look back and say, ‘Did we intend to cause this pain?’

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Court Stops CBN, Buhari From Shifting Naira Deadline

“And if the policy is not working, perhaps you have to readjust and to also ask yourself whether you thought this through. As a public officer, before and now, I have had cause to reverse myself, when I saw that my policies were causing unintended results.

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“So, I have no responsibility on those two areas and therefore I cannot speak to the details of the facts that are available to the policymakers but the important thing is that those policies are not yet delivering the results and are delivering a lot of inconvenience for [people],” he said.

 

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Naira Crunch: CBN Monetary Policies Best For Nigeria Economy – Obaseki

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Despite criticism, pains and suffering in accessing the naira, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, on Monday insisted that the Central Bank of Nigeria, monetary policies of Godwin Emefiele’s towards a cashless economy remain the right decision for the nation’s economy.

The Governor, however, called for more enlightenment and patience on the path of Nigerians, even as he urged the apex bank to ensure the availability of naira notes for the citizenry whom he said are going through pains in getting money to spend.

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The Governor spoke shortly after he summoned a meeting with senior officials of the CBN and senior management staff of banks in Government House Benin on the difficulty of the people in accessing cash.

He also appealed to the people to take advantage of ATMs, POS and bank wallets for transactions.

He said, “I had to invite the Central Bank and senior management of all the banks in Edo state to come and meet with me in the government house because government is very much concern about the plight and suffering of our people who are worried over the inability to get cash from the banking system in Edo state.

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“Haven discussed extensively with the CBN and the bankers that the policy of moving the Nigeria economy to one of a cashless system should be encouraged. It is the best thing for our banking system so the Edo state government has no problem with the policy of the federal government to move our economy to a cashless one.

“However, we want to ensure we do this as painlessly as possible; we have to improve on the communication with our people to reduce their fear. When people go to banks to collect cash because they want to spend it on something, we want to help to inform them that they don’t need to collect cash to spend cash.

“We actually have other means to spend cash without going to the bank to collect cash. From Phones, payment can be made to whomever. For those who don’t have sophisticated phones, with USSID codes you can pay for things as small as N500 without spending cash. So when you go to POS terminals, don’t ask for cash, let them do for you what you want to use the cash for via transfer”.

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Director, Risk Management of Central Bank, Blaise Ijebor said they are in Edo to ensure there is supply of naira to everyone on Edo state.

READ ALSO: Coalition Warns Buhari Over New Naira Policy

“We are also here to encourage people to use alternative means to make their payment. If you are able to use your card, app or USSID to pay, you can even go to an ATM that doesn’t have cash to do your transfer from them.

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“We are aware a number of ATMs are not paying. We are going to make sure that there is supply in a day or two, we have supply available through your bank branches to give some cash to use.”

He also added that there are monitoring teams going round working with EFCC and ICPC to check any illegal act or collusion with banks.

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