Passengers who have purchased air tickets and planned to travel on June 21 may have to wait for longer for goverment pronouncement as most domestic operators have no flights scheduled for that date, Daily Sun investigation reveals.
Following the initial announcement by the Federal Government that domestic flights will resume this month, airlines begun advertising sale of tickets on their social media platforms and websites for June 21 travels.
In line with the development, rates on Dana Air website for a trip to Abuja from Lagos for instance was N34,500 for economy discount, N48,000 for economy saver, N66,000 for economy flexible, N111,600 for business saver and N162,000 for business flexible. The new rates are almost double the pre-COVID-19 rates where passengers could purchase tickets to Abuja for as low as N18,000 if booking was made one week ahead and about N23,000 if booked two to three days ahead.
Similarly, Azman Air also posted plans to commence flights on June 21 on all its social media handles.
However, shortly after the initial report, the Federal Government said domestic flight operations would not resume on June 21.
The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said domestic airlines were given a window of three weeks to prepare, stressing “we did not say flights would definitely start on June 21.”
Aliyu clarified on June 1 that “the aviation industry was required to start developing protocols to allow for domestic flights to resume anytime from June 21.”
However, while responding to a question Aliyu said the PTF was yet to receive any update from the sector on its preparedness to restart flight operations.
After the announcement by the PTF, some airlines began making adjustments to their flight schedules.
Dana Air currently has no more flights for June 21 on its website. Although no definite resumption date has been announced by the Federal Government, Dana Air website shows scheduled flights from Abuja to Lagos for June 24.
Arik Air currently has no flights scheduled for the rest of the month up to the first week of July, but Daily Sun learned that this was due to the uncertainty of flight resumption.
Aero Contractors also has no flights for the rest of the month, but on July 1, 2020, it has a scheduled flight from Abuja to Lagos, with economy class seats increased to N31,121, as against pre COVID-19 economy flight from Abuja to Lagos one week ahead on Aero at about N25,000. Though Azman Air still has flights scheduled for June 21 on its website, it is still modifying its unused preparations while Air Peace, Max Air and Ibom Air hav no schedules for that date and Overland is awaiting the ban to be lifted on their destinations.