Easter: Nigerian passengers scramble for air tickets

Passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos State.

As the Easter celebration inches closer, air passengers across Nigeria spent the better part of Friday struggling to secure flight tickets to enable them travel to various parts of the country and outside.

The Nigerian government announced Friday and Monday as public holidays and many workers see this as a long time to be with family members during the celebration.

Following the high demand for tickets, several airlines have hiked their fares while touts at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport were indulging in brisk business to meet the travellers’ demand, TheNEWS finding showed.

As early as 6 a.m., the hundreds of passengers that arrived the domestic wing of the airport to catch their flights were left stranded due to their inability to secure tickets.

At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), many passengers were seen waiting for an opportunity to obtain tickets.

Agency reports showed that passengers travelling to Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Asaba, Enugu, Warri, Calabar and Uyo were mostly affected.

It was gathered that the ticket for a one-hour flight was sold for N40,000 at the GAT instead of the average price of between N28,000 and N30,000.

Mr Damilola Smith, a passenger, complained that he had earlier tried to book through the website as advised by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, but to no avail.

“I am not travelling today but I came to buy tickets for four members of my family. I have tried to book Aero economy online to no avail.

“The morning seats are now fully booked so I am here to see if I can still get cheap tickets,” Smith said.

Another passenger, Dr Olumide Faleti, said he purchased his return ticket for N46, 000, expressing regret that he could not afford to wait because of some business appointments.

An airline official confided with NAN that most of the airline had been over booked due to the high demand for flight ticket.

Mr Yakubu Dati,the FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, said on Wedneday that measures had been put in place by the authority to ensure a hitch-free movement of passengers during the Easter period.

Dati urged passengers to take advantage of Aviation Passengers’ Service Portal, PSP, to plan their trips.

He had said that intending air passengers could get information needed such as airline delays, on time departures and flight cancellations from the authority’s portal before embarking on their trips.