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Middle class excluded from foreign trips as tickets skyrocket

Are you planning to travel abroad, to Europe or the United States of America? Whether on holiday or business, you need between N250,000 to well over N1 million for regular economy tickets!

As the dollar gains more against the Naira, hovering near N320/ $1 officially, and nearer N500/ $1 at the parallel market, prices of tickets are flying beyond the reach of Nigeria’s middle class. And with the crisis in aviation sector, from difficulty in getting fuel to disorder and exploitative practices by numerous agencies and players making Lagos lose its West African hub glory, traveling abroad is becoming more burdensome and expensive.

Except you have a war chest, flying to Europe and America now requires long and painstaking planning. And amazing saving regimen which borders on deprivation!

 

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s investigation on air fares paint a frustrating picture.

For instance, we enquired about economy class tickets for Lagos-London (the United Kingdom) return, from February 6 – March 6, 2017, and we got the following quotes:

* N237,418 (Egyptair)

* N241,081 (Turkish Airlines)

* N258,814 (Ethiopian Airlines)

* N301,675 – N322,567 (Emirates)

* N358,428 (Etihad)

* N363,902 – N421,344 (KLM)

*N1,310,530 (Virgin Atlantic)

*N1,370,624 (British Airways)

 

Another independent search recorded the following fares for February 6 – March 6 travel period from Lagos-London return:

* $1,241.05 (British Airways)

* $1,364 (Airfrance)

* $4,154 (Virgin Atlantic)

 

However, all the travel periods entered for MedView Airlines (February 8 – March 8, April 12 – 26, April 5 – May 8) for Lagos-London return all threw up N246,473.76 airfare.

For the Lagos-London return on April 10 – 24, here are the quoted fares:

* N238,184 (Egyptair)

* N292,212 (Ethiopian Airlines)

* N313,060 (Emirates)

* N322,350 (Turkish Airlines)

* N534,274 (KLM)

* $1,733.35 (Airfrance)

* N1,039,020 (Lufthansa)

* N1,311,870 (Virgin Atlantic)

British Airways fare from Lagos-London return on April 5 – May 4 showed $1,464.05.

If your destination is the US, be ready to pay almost double of the listed fares on regular economy tickets.

But if your pockets are lined and you opt for business class tickets, fares are almost thrice economy prices.

Before the forex and aviation fuel crises, fares from Lagos-London return were well below N200,000 on premium airlines which now charge more than double.

With fewer international flights and airlines opting for smaller aircraft, less and less Nigerians are travelling abroad.

Those who choose the cheaper airlines are perpetually punished with rescheduled and cancelled flights, and many times delayed or missing luggage.

Even tickets Accra (Ghana), our West African neighbours, which cost less than N30,000 is now over N100,000!

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