“Twenty-one days after BusinessDay’s expose on how foreign airlines rip-off Nigerians on the Lagos – London and Abuja -London routes, as against the low fares charged on the Accra – London route, the Federal Government is yet to take concrete action to bring reprieve to Nigerian travellers, BusinessDay investigations have shown.
As a result of this development, Nigerian passengers who travelled on British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Lufthansa and Air France – KLM, may have paid a whopping $15.8 million (N2.53 billion) above passengers who travelled to Europe from Accra with the same airlines in 21 days.
A flight from Accra to Lagos takes about 35 minutes and costs $70 (N11,200) (return ticket).
Nigerian passengers pay about 76 percent higher fare from passengers travelling from Accra to Europe on the premium class of the European carriers on the West Africa – Europe route.
Beside the hot air blown by the government when it invited British Airways (BA) to answer charges of fare price fixing, asking the airline to refund to passengers $235 million and threatening to reduce its flights into Lagos from seven per week to three, nothing concrete has been done. The airlines continue to smile to the bank everyday, with the proceeds of the huge fare differentials.
BA’s first class ticket on the Lagos – London- Lagos route costs N1,365,998 ($8,500) while that of Accra-London-Accra costs N773, 798 ($4,800), resulting in fare differential of N592,200 ($3,700). Assuming only ten passengers travelled with the airline on the routes since 21 days ago, the airlines would have made $777,000 (N124.3 million).
Similarly, if Lufthansa airlines, which offers N798, 559.3 ($4,900) on Lagos-Frankfurt-Lagos and N451, 949.3 ($2,800) on Accra-Frankfurt-Accra with a difference of N346, 610 ($2,166) were to fly 10 passengers in the period under review, using its A340 Airbus, it would have ripped-off Nigerian passengers of the sum of $3.4 million (N440 million).
KLM Royal Dutch offers $4, 236 (N638,365.2) on Lagos-Amsterdam – Lagos and offers $3, 230 (N481,761) on Accra-Amsterdam-Accra route, with a fare difference of N156, 604 ($978). At an average ten passengers per flight, Nigerian passengers would have paid $3.08 million (N493million) more than their Ghanaians counterparts.
In the same vain, the cost of upper class on Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA), from Accra- London-Accra is N385, 000 ($2,406) on its A340, while it costs N821, 000 ($5,131) from Lagos -to London -Lagos. This is a huge difference of N436, 000 ($2,725). On the average, ten Nigerian passengers would have paid $8.6 million (N1.37 billion) above their Ghanaian counterparts.
Asked what the Federal Government has done since BusinessDay’s November 10 expose on the huge fare differentials, to bring reprieve to Nigerian air travellers, Joe Obi, media assistant to the Aviation Minister said the Ministry is still dealing with BA”, adding “ once we are through with BA, it will be easier for other airlines to tow the line. . .”
Business Day has the full story.