Nigerian passengers pay higher fares to destinations in West Africa due to lack of competition, poor connectivity and exorbitant charges on airlines.
In fact, THISDAY findings indicated that the fares, for example, from Lagos to Dakar, capital of Senegal, which is about three hours flight, could be compared to Lagos-Dubai, which is about eight hours flight.
According to industry experts, lack of competition is occasioned by the fact that airlines in West and Central Africa generally have short life span, so no airline operates the routes for a long time and there are not many airlines in the sub-region that could be operating the routes at the same time, which invariably would bring fares down due to competition.
Reports also showed that an average price for return ticket from Lagos to Kenya on Ethiopian Airline, Kenya Airways and RwandAir ranges from N350,000 to N400,000 and N320,000 to N350,000 from Lagos to Egypt using Kenya Airways, Etihad, Turkish Airline and Ethiopian Airline.
Also, average price of a return ticket from Lagos to South Africa using South African Airways, Kenyan Airways and Rwand Air is between N450,000 and N500,000 and costs between N300,000 to N350,000 from Lagos to Morocco on Royal Air Maroc and Egypt Air.
On the other hand, an Easy Airline return ticket from Milan to France cost about 50 pounds, which is equivalent to N25, 400, using black market exchange rate of N508 to a pound.
Also, an Emirates airline return ticket from Dubai to Bahrain costs 925dihrams, which is equivalent to N90, 660.
Average price of a return ticket on from Germany to Poland costs between N85,000 to N110,000. While an average price of a return ticket on from New York to Miami using United Airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airline cost between N40,000 to N55,000.
Although it is believed that the newly implemented treaty, Single African Air Travel Market (SAATM) would create the enabling environment for more airlines to operate these West Coast routes, but airlines are still sceptical that the fares would go down in the near future because there is yet a level playing field for easy implementation of the policy.
Travel expert and the organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko said that SAATM would be the best thing that would happen to the Nigerian airlines if they could take advantage of its because it would open up the West Cost and other African market to the benefit of Nigerian operators because most of the passengers doing business in many cities in the West and Central Africa are Nigerians.