Air pas­sen­gers pay more taxes, sur­charges than ticket fare

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Hamisu Muham­mad (Abuja) & Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu (Lagos)

Pas­sen­gers fly­ing do­mes­tic routes are forced to pay more in taxes and sur­charges than the ac­tual cost of the flight ticket, in­ves­ti­ga­tions by Daily Trust have re­vealed.

An anal­y­sis of the cost of tick­ets of ma­jor do­mes­tic air­lines in­di­cated that on some air­lines, pas­sen­gers paid up to 64 per­cent of the to­tal cost as sur­charges and taxes among oth­ers.

Al­ready, there are out­cries over high cost of air­lines tick­ets for pas­sen­gers fly­ing do­mes­tic routes which the operators at­trib­uted to too much charges and fees payable to the reg­u­la­tors.

A break­down of flight ticket on the do­mes­tic routes gives the com­po­nents of air fare which in­clude the base fare, sur­charges, taxes, and ser­vice fees, among oth­ers. In most cases, the sur­charges are higher than the ac­tual fare.

The air­lines op­er­at­ing on the do­mes­tic routes in­clude Aero Con­trac­tors, Arik Air, Dana Air, Med-View, Air Peace, First Na­tion, Az­man and Over­land.

An anal­y­sis of Air Peace re­turn econ­omy ticket from Abuja to Lagos showed that the to­tal cost is N50,164 but only N18,400, equiv­a­lent to 36.6 per­cent of the to­tal cost is charged for the ticket fare, with the re­main­ing N31,764 or 63.4 per­cent go­ing as ei­ther sur­charges, taxes or fees.

In the case of Arik Air, the re­turn econ­omy ticket from same route in­di­cated that out of the to­tal ticket cost of N46,744 only N10,646 or 22.8 per­cent as air­lines ticket fare, the re­main­ing N36,068 or 77 per­cent is ei­ther taxes, fees or sur­charges.

Many pas­sen­gers spoke to Daily ac­cuse air­lines of who Trust se­cretly fleec­ing them by hid­ing the sur­charges that were not ex­plained.

As­abe Daudu, who said she is a fre­quent air pas­sen­ger, told our re­porter that the air­lines and the au­thor­i­ties were tak­ing ad­van­tage of the high de­mand for air trans­port due to the di­lap­i­dated roads and in­se­cu­rity along Nige­rian high­ways.

She said in the ad­vanced world trav­el­ling by air was not a priv­i­lege but ne­ces­sity there­fore pas­sen­gers were first taken into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore any other thing, but in Nige­ria too much taxes are placed on air trav­ellers be­cause it is con­sid­ered a lux­ury.

Mr Sa­muel John, a busi­ness­man who also fre­quently trav­els by air said it was not fair to be charg­ing pas­sen­gers higher taxes than the ticket fare. He said gov­ern­ment needs to en­cour­age air trav­ellers in or­der to at­tract traf­fic for more air­lines to grow rather than dis­cour­age fly­ing.

He said in most coun­tries, tick­ets were rel­a­tively cheap com­pared to what ob­tained in Nige­ria.

How­ever, the air­lines operators have also joined in con­demn­ing the high taxes paid to gov­ern­ment agen­cies, say­ing when the taxes were de­ducted, they were left with lit­tle or noth­ing as profit.

Chair­man of Air Peace, Barr. Allen Onyema, dur­ing a re­cent avi­a­tion round­table, at­trib­uted the taxes paid on air tick­ets to the in­abil­ity of some air­lines to meet their salary obli­ga­tions.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of Aero Con­trac­tors, Capt. Ado Sanusi told Daily Trust that the taxes and charges payable to gov­ern­ment were usu­ally clearly de­fined on the ticket, adding that fuel sur­charges also formed part of the add-on charges.

The pop­u­lar taxes are the Pas­sen­ger Ser­vice Charge (PSC) paid to the Fed­eral Air­port Au­thor­ity of Nige­ria (FAAN) on each pas­sen­ger; the Ticket Sale Charge (TSC) which is shared by all avi­a­tion agen­cies in­clud­ing the Nige­ria Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (NCAA), Nige­rian Airspace Man­age­ment Agency (NAMA), Nige­rian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency (NIMET) and Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bu­reau (AIB).

There is also the over flight charge, nav­i­ga­tion and land­ing fees paid to NAMA and fuel sur­charge among oth­ers.”These are the charges that make up the sur­charge as con­tained in the cost of ticket”, says an air­line of­fi­cial who would not want to be named.

A spokesper­son of Dana Air, Mr. Kings­ley Ok­wudili, also con­firmed the de­vel­op­ment but de­nied that air­lines were ex­ploit­ing pas­sen­gers.

“You are all fa­mil­iar with these charges. These are the com­po­nents of the sur­charges you are talk­ing about. Of course we can be­gin to in­di­cate that in the ticket, it would not be proper. So the is­sue of short­chang­ing pas­sen­gers does not arise”, he said.

The NCAA in­sists that air fares are lib­er­al­ized even as they said any fare in­crease must be duly ap­proved by it.

Spokesman of the agency, Mr. Sam Adurog­boye, re­ferred our cor­re­spon­dent to a re­cent state­ment is­sued on the air fares, say­ing the po­si­tion has not changed.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, “air fares and sundry charges have been statu­to­rily dereg­u­lated and sub­jected to mar­ket forces.”

This, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, im­plies that air­lines are al­lowed to fix their fares in ac­cor­dance with mar­ket forces; build­ing into the ticket fares the var­i­ous sundry charges - fuel sur­charge, among oth­ers - which would en­able them to break even.

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