Flight resumption: Airlines allay fear of ticket hike
With domestic flights set to commence on Wednesday next week, airlines have allayed fears of an astronomical hike in ticket prices.
Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Capt Ado Ibrahim, who spoke on a television programme monitored in Abuja, on Thursday warned, however, that as Federal Government has already increased airport tax by N,1000 passengers will automatically pay more.
However, “there will not be a big increase in ticket fare unless there is a cap on the number of passengers airlines take.”
According to Sanusi, the conditions that could substantially increase air ticket would be if the government decided to remove centre seats in the planes.
“Let me make it clear here that in a single-aisle airplane, people are suggesting that we block the centre seat, people are suggesting that we practice physical distancing.
“Those are emotional and psychological advises because World Health Organisation has given the guidelines that you must maintain two metres and if you can’t maintain two metres then you must wear your mask and it is very difficult to maintain two metres in the aeroplanes that we are using in domestic operations in Nigeria.
“Definitely, we will now have to wear masks. Of course, the aircraft also reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, If that is allowed and airlines carry as many passengers as possible, then I do not foresee any increase in ticket prices but if they cap it, which I do not think we have data on the number of passengers to cap, then somebody has to pay for the empty seats.
“We don’t want the virus to enter the aircraft so we will make sure that temperatures are checked before you enter the aeroplane, you will also be made to sanitise your hands. And when you enter, you have a clean aeroplane.”
He disclosed that airlines were discussing with the Federal Government to see whether they could get soft loans for working capital.
“I think the Federal Government has agreed to give us some soft loans. All the airlines can apply for soft loans to start operations but you will not see any huge increase in ticket fare unless there is a cap on the number of passengers airlines take.”