Some Nigerian travellers told The Punch that they were beginning to fly through neighbouring airports in order to cut costs.
A businessman, Mr Joe Anakwe, said he recently moved to Ghana and flew from there to Dubai.
“Yes, it is cheaper, but it is also meant to have fewer hassles. Those countries do not have a dollar crisis like we do, and their flight costs are cheaper when compared with buying in Naira,” he said.
Another Nigerian traveller, Charles Sawoe, noted that the forex challenges sometimes made cost of flights higher by over 50 per cent in Nigeria. “I have agents in Ghana and France. Those countries do not have issues with forex the way it is here. So, they buy tickets for me at cheaper rates. At times, I fly through Ghana, but sometimes I move through Lagos. But the most important thing for me is that I do not normally buy tickets here the way I used to,” he said.
According to the president of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Susan Akporiaye, Nigerians had started flying from Accra, Ghana, to London, Canada and other frequently visited destinations. Speaking to The PUNCH in a telephone interview, Akporiaye said, “Nigerians are already flying from Ghana to other countries because the lower inventories of tickets are no longer available in Nigeria. People go to Accra because Accra still has the lowest inventory available. By the time all airlines restrict sales to only the highest inventories like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have done, then more people will move to Accra to fly,” she added.
Foreign airlines operating in Nigeria have since blocked all low ticket inventories on their websites, making it difficult for passengers to buy affordable tickets.
NANTA’s president said, “Yes it is true because they get it cheaper that way, but you know even out of Nigeria, you get cheaper prices. It is just that you have to issue the tickets out of Nigeria…. Rather than fly to other West African countries, Nigerians aiming to travel can log in to the airline’s websites. Lower fares are on their websites and since they are not based in Nigeria, payment will be made in the currency of the country, so that is another way we can get lower fares as their website is domiciled in their countries. The only reason why they are not selling lower fares here is that they do not want it to be sold in Naira because their money is trapped here. So, as much as they can, they make the ones that we can sell in Naira higher and then through their websites you can get lower ones, but you will pay in the currency of the country. They are trying to get back some of their forex that is stuck in Nigeria so that it does not keep increasing exponentially.”