Passengers murmur against hike in foreign airline fare 

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Hike in airline fare

Passengers murmur against hike in foreign airline fare. As prices keep rising and it becomes more challenging for people to take their preferred vacations, travelers are voicing their displeasure and frustration. Many travelers are frustrated by the increased prices and the ongoing economic uncertainty.

About two weeks after President Bola Tinubu promised to unify the nation’s multiple exchange rates, the apex bank decided to float the naira at the Investor’s and Exporters’ Window of the foreign exchange market. Since then, the naira had fallen from N471/dollar to N867/$.

With this development, Nigerians, particularly, intending international students hoping to resume school in September, had been greatly impacted by the unpredictable fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

Nigerians are finding it harder and harder to travel because of the skyrocketing costs of airline tickets, especially when compared to nearby nations like Benin and Ghana where travel is noticeably more affordable.

Little had been accomplished to improve the situation by the existing policy of floating the Naira. Due to a lack of available dollars in the market, the majority of foreign airlines’ funds were locked inside Nigeria while the exchange rate continued to increase. Nigerians were put in an awkward situation because they relied on inexpensive flights to conduct their daily lives.

In an exclusive chat with The PUNCH in Abuja, Ade Johnson, a potential traveller, noted that although he had not yet booked his flight, he had noticed a significant increase in prices compared to a few months earlier.

He revealed that many Nigerians were looking into other possibilities. One popular choice was to travel via the Benin Republic, where airfares were considerably cheaper. Additionally, the proximity of Benin Republic to Lagos, with a travel time of less than an hour, mades it an enticing proposition for cost-conscious travellers.

Although I haven’t booked my flight yet, the cost has increased in comparison to what was available a few months ago. Lagos to London was around 350k in May for the airline I booked, but the same route goes for 750k or more now.

“The best alternative option is to travel through Benin republic where air tickets are cheaper and it’s less than an hour drive from Lagos.”

Moreover, the Fx situation had created additional challenges for Nigerian students, including increased payment for tuition fees, visa expenses, the International Health Surcharge, and the need to provide proof of funds for maintenance and upkeep.

Previously, Nigerian students utilised Form A for tuition payments, which was pegged at a fixed rate controlled by the Central Bank of Nigeria. However, the current circumstances had altered this arrangement, leading to further financial burdens for students.

Success Apiaka, a traveler affected by the recent rise and fluctuation in foreign exchange rates, shared her experience and expressed his frustration with the impact it has had on his travel budget and plans, adding that he was forced to reevaluate and make significant adjustments to his financial planning to account for the unforeseen changes.

“The recent increase and fluctuation in foreign currency has affected my travel plans, especially considering the amount I had originally budgeted for the process,” Apiaka said when describing the difficulties she encountered. I had to go back to my drawing board to replan and find the best way to achieve my travel goal. This meant cutting down on a lot of expenses, including food, clothing, and family-related costs, in order to meet the current exchange rate and make the most of every penny I have.”

Apiaka had the advantage of knowing enough about economics to foresee impending financial problems and take proactive steps to safeguard her travel arrangements. After paying her tuition in May, she began planning her trip because she had previously used Form A for transactions involving foreign currencies and had learnt from those mistakes.

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