Travellers groan as int’l airfares rise by 70 per cent –

Air travellers from Nigeria are having a horrid time, as airfares on international routes have jumped over the roof, prompting prospective passengers to either postpone their trips or opt for outright cancellation.

Two factors – depreciation of local currency against the United States dollars and the rush for summer holiday – have pushed airfares up by between 70 and 100 per cent. A dollar now exchanges for N280.

For long, the naira was pegged at $1 to N197. Airline fares are quoted in US dollars and Nigerians pay the equivalent in naira at the previous exchange rate of N197.

After the introduction of the flexible forex policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the payment is now calculated at an exchange rate of N285.

That is 45 per cent increase and the consequence is a huge reduction in travellers, as most people cannot afford the fares. Visa fees have also risen. The United Kingdom six month visa fee has risen to N71,000 from between N38,000 and N41,000.

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