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Inflation pushes local airfares up by 57%

By on September 25, 2017

The high rate of inflation in the country is taking its toll on the aviation sector with the number of passengers declining by 456,135 between January and June this year.

An analysis of a new report on the sector prepared by the National Bureau of Statistics and obtained by our correspondent on Friday showed that the passenger traffic dropped from 3,489,317 as of the end of December 2016 to 3,033,182 in June 2017.

The report indicated that high inflation rate affected the airfares of four major airports as charges rose significantly by 57.3 per cent. The four major airports were given as Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

As a result of the 57.3 per cent increase in charges at these airports, the NBS report explained further that air travel was restricted to only necessary and business-related activities.

The report also said that the decrease in air flight passengers also affected the number of flights as the aviation sector received a decline in aircraft movement by 24.53 per cent.

The report stated, “In the second quarter of 2017, overall passenger traffic increased by 21.06 per cent over the previous quarter but declined by 18.56 per cent year-on-year.

“Similarly, aircraft movement increased by 11.23 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 but declined by 20.4 per cent year-on-year.

“This strong decline in passenger and aircraft movement can be attributed to high double-digit inflation during the second quarter, which averaged 16.53 per cent, thereby squeezing households’ baskets. In particular, airfares have grown on average 57.3 per cent in four major airports. During the period under review, air travel was largely restricted to necessary and business-related activities.”

The Federal Government last Thursday inaugurated an 11-man committee to address the regulatory issues raised by the Airlines Operators of Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, inaugurating the committee in Abuja, had said the committee headed by him, with membership from aviation agencies, had three mandates.

According to him, the committee is set up to address the payment of multiple charges by operators, state of infrastructure at the airports and look into negotiations of Bilateral Air Service Agreements.