Airline passengers in Ilorin, Kwara State have decried the high cost of flight ticket on the Ilorin-Lagos, Lagos-Ilorin and Ilorin-Abuja, Abuja-Ilorin route.
With as much as N55,000 as the cost of a one-way ticket on Ilorin-Abuja route, the passengers described the fare as “damn too expensive.”
There are two airlines flying to Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State in the North Cental geopolitical zone. They are Arik Air and Overland Airways.
The Ilorin international airport is considered a major gateway in the geopolitical zone serving other neighbouring states and cities within the state.
Apart from serving the passengers from Ilorin, the airport also connects passengers from other major towns in the state like Offa, Omu Aran, Ekiti in Kwara South as well as Baruten, Kaiama in Kwara North, among others.
However, passengers have continued to moan over what they called the exorbitant fares charged by the two airlines flying to the airport.
Checks by our correspondent indicate that an average one-way ticket from Ilorin to Nnamdi Azikiwe Inernational Airport (NAIA), Abuja on Arik Air is N45,000 for a 40-minute flight while Overland charges N53,500 on the same route for a trip of next day.
However, the price varies according to the proximity of the travel date. Checks on the website of Overland indicated that the lowest fare on Abuja-Ilorin or Ilorin-Abuja is 38,500 for travel dates such as December 16; 20; 29; 30 and 31 while other dates cost between 40,000 to 50,000.
This is more than the price of a return ticket from Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos to Abuja with a flight time of 50 minutes.
Ilorin to Abuja on Arik costs N38,545 one-way while Arik doesn’t fly to Lagos from Ilorin.
For Ilorin to Lagos, findings indicate that the lowest price on Overland is N38,500.
One of the passengers who teaches in one of the universities in the State said, “The fares are too expensive and the airlines are making it difficult for people to fly.”
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had deregulated air fares giving the airlines liberty to determine prices in line with market reality.
This much was reiterated by the spokesman of the authority, Mr. Sam Adurogboye who defended the airlines, saying prices are determined by “demand and supply.”
However, he noted that passengers can decide not to fly “if they think the price is too much,” adding, “We have deregulated air fares as advised by the government and airlines can take the fare to any level that they want.”
An aviation analyst who spoke with our correspondent in confidence said the government of the state could intervene by way of subsidising the fare for its citizens.