Some domestic carriers have jerked up fares into northern routes from Lagos and Abuja ostensibly because of the Sallah celebration and the two-day public holiday declared by the Federal Government.
Fares to routes, such as Kaduna, Maiduguri, Yola, Sokoto, Jos, and Abuja, have gone up because of the capacity of the few operators on some of affected routes.
Passenger traffic between Thursday and Friday on the routes increased as airlines were battling to resolve overbooking challenges.
A visit to the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Friday revealed that airfares for a one-way trip for economy seat, which was between N24,000 and N30,000 last month, has gone up to N48,000 on the Lagos-Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Maiduguri routes.
Airlines that operate into these routes are Aero, Arik, Air Peace, AZMAN Air, Medview Airlines, Overland Airways and Dana Air.
Investigations revealed that bookings for various economy seats, whether premium, deluxe and flexible cabin, were fully booked, with the inscription “No Seat” on major airlines’ websites.
It was gathered that some passengers had made bookings and paid for their seats many weeks ahead to escape the high fares being offered for the few seats available for recent bookings.
A travel agent with Finish Travels, Akin Oyero, said some Nigerians are travelling, despite the economic downturn.
He said rush periods, such as Sallah, provides opportunity for airlines to raise fares.
He said: “The load factors of these locations are almost full for tomorrow and next. Nigerians are resilient and love to travel just to celebrate with their love ones.
“Airlines leverage festive periods, such as Sallah to make up for their lost revenues during non-festive periods. As such, Medview Airline, which is the major airline that plies northern routes have seized this opportunity to generate revenues.
“Abuja route is equally experiencing high demand and airlines are leveraging this to also charge high fares. Airfares for Eastern part of Nigeria have remained relatively stable,” the travel agent added.