BUSI­NESS New forex pol­icy pushes up for­eign air­fare

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Lagos

As pas­sen­gers groan over astro­nom­i­cal hike in prices of in­ter­na­tional flight tick­ets, travel agents un­der the aegis of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria Travel Agen­cies (NANTA) have blamed the de­vel­op­ment on what they called in­di­rect de­val­u­a­tion of naira by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

The naira is cur­rently ex­changed at N285 to a dol­lar based on the new ex­change rate pol­icy com­pared to the pre­vi­ous rate of N197-N200 to a dol­lar.

This has led to sharp in­crease in air fares on the in­ter­na­tional routes as ticket fare is now priced at N285 to a dol­lar.

The new forex pol­icy is there­fore giving pas­sen­gers and travel man­age­ment com­pa­nies se­ri­ous con­cern as fares have in­creased by over 50 per cent.

Based on the price hike, it was learnt that some pas­sen­gers had to ei­ther re­view or can­cel their flights.

A travel agent also blamed the is­sue on the drive by air­lines to re­coup their losses even as they fight hard to repa­tri­ate trapped funds to their coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to an agency ex­ec­u­tive who pre­ferred anonymity, “this is not the best of time for the in­dus­try as the sum­mer hol­i­day ap­proaches when there is in­crease in traf­fic. The im­pli­ca­tion is that many pas­sen­gers would have to post­pone their trips or can­cel them out­right.”

The price hike, it was gath­ered, is mostly felt on the busy routes of the United States, Lon­don and Dubai, among oth­ers. When Emi­rates Air­line re­cently sus­pended its sec­ond Lagos-Dubai flight, the fare on the only flight rose by about 100 per cent as con­firmed to Daily Trust by an of­fi­cial of the air­line.

Speak­ing with our cor­re­spon­dent on the de­vel­op­ment, Pres­i­dent of NANTA, Mr. Bernard Bankole, said, “The rate of ex­change that is used has in­creased from N200 to N280. So that made the prices of tick­ets to sky­rocket, cou­pled with the fact that the air­lines too would be work­ing to re-coup their losses based on the in­di­rect de­val­u­a­tion that the gov­ern­ment has done with their money.”

He pointed out that those who would be em­bark­ing on the Mus­lim pil­grim­age this year would have to pay through their noses to meet the Hajj fare.

Bankole, how­ever, ex­pressed op­ti­mism that the new forex pol­icy which has barely taken off would even­tu­ally yield pos­i­tive out­come on the long run.

ARIK AIR

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