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Ramadan holidays: Airfares rise by 40%

By on August 10, 2013

With the increase in the number of passengers due to the Ramadan holidays, most airlines in the country have increased their fares.

Investigations by our correspondent showed that due to the last minute rush witnessed on Wednesday and early on Thursday, a lot of the domestic airlines had raised their fares, with some raising their fares by as much as 40 per cent.

The country’s major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Uyo witnessed an influx of passengers on Thursday owing to the two-day holidays declared by the Federal Government to mark the end of the Ramadan period.

Our correspondent observed that many travellers besieged the airports in a bid to re-unite with their loved ones during the holidays.

For instance, at the Lagos airport, passengers were seen struggling to get seats on the few available flights to strategic destinations, just as the fares kept rising.

An air ticket from Lagos to Kano, which usually goes for between N23,500 and N27,000, rose to about N35,000 between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Flights from Lagos to Abuja, which normally costs between N19,000 and N25,000, depending on the airline and the time of flights, sold for as much as N30,000 on Thursday.

Most of the flights with increased fares were headed for the northern part of the country.

It was also observed that touts, who paraded themselves as agents in connivance with some airline employees, contributed to the fare increase, as desperate travellers who were only interested in getting to their destinations, fell prey to the agents.

Generally, booking and paying for flights through the Internet over a long period of time is usually cheaper than buying tickets over the counter at airport terminals.

However, some passengers who purchased their tickets online a few weeks before were, however, denied their slots as the airline employees gave flimsy excuses for denying them of the privilege.

One of the affected passengers, who gave his name as Mr. Tunde Azeez, said he had purchased a ticket for the flight to Abuja from Lagos online about three weeks ago and paid for it using his Automated Teller Machine card.

He said, “I was, however, surprised to get here only to learn that my seat had been sold out. I do not understand what the operators mean by that. They said they can do nothing about it, except I upgrade the ticket by paying an additional amount. I think it is rather unfortunate.

“I hope the concerned authority will do something to address the situation whereby some of these airlines just treat customers as they like, it is really unfair.”

A lot of passengers were seen milling around at the airport terminals as they struggled to purchase tickets due to the increasing demand for the few available tickets.