By Chinelo Obogo
Amidst the escalating level of insecurity in the country, travel agents in Nigeria, say air passenger traffic to short routes like Ilorin, Edo, Ibadan has remained very low.
An Air Peace economy flight ticket from Lagos to Ilorin costs N55, 000 on the airline’s website, while Lagos to Benin costs same amount.
But passengers traveling by road to Benin with commercial could pay just N9, 800 for the Jet Mover and Mercedes Sprinter catergory and N8, 800 for the Toyota Hiace buses.
Speaking to Daily Sun, the 44th national president of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, blamed the low air traffic to the rising cost of flight tickets rather than insecurity.
She said even for short routes like Ibadan, Ilorin and Benin, the low traffic has remained a major problem as that passengers who formerly preferred travelling by air, are now opting for road trips despite high level of insecurity.
“It would have favoured us if the ticket prices were reasonable but i can tell you that the level of insecurity is not affecting ticket sales in any way. The minimum amount for round trip flight ticket is N100,000. But how many people can afford to pay that in the face of harsh economic environment?
So despite the so -called insecurity on the road, and I say in quote because the insecurity on the road is not as bad as people are making to be and that is the honest truth, more people still travel in a larger number by road than they do by air especially now that fares have gone up to over N100,000.
“Passenger traffic has even reduced if you are talking about local travel because of the cost of flight ticket. Insecurity should ordinarily make it increase but it has not, it has reduced. Maybe if the cost was still around N50, 000 instead of N100, 000 maybe we would have seen an increase. But that is not the case.
“We also need to recognise the fact that we are in an election cycle. Sometimes we tend to forget our history a lot in Nigeria.
We don’t remember things and we forget so easily. About insecurity and all that is going on, we also need to remember that insecurity increases every election cycle and this is no different. It happened in 2015, after the election, things calmed down. It happened again in 2019 and things calmed down afterwards. Now, we are back there again.