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Low passengers’ turnout at airports despite 3-day Sallah holiday

Despite the long holiday declared for the Eid-el-Fitri celebration, airports across the country recorded low turnout of passengers, checks by Daily Trust have shown. Our…

Despite the long holiday declared for the Eid-el-Fitri celebration, airports across the country recorded low turnout of passengers, checks by Daily Trust have shown.

Our correspondent learnt that many flights were recording between 70-80 per cent load factor despite the three-day holiday.

The federal government had earlier declared Tuesday and Wednesday for the Sallah celebration commemorating the 2024 Muslim fasting before it extended the holiday to Thursday after the moon was not sighted and Eid is being celebrated today (Wednesday).

A check at the Murtala Muhammed Airport private terminal (MMA2) yesterday indicated that there was no rush usually associated with the festive period.  

An airport official who spoke with our correspondent said while few people travelled on Monday after the holiday was declared, the number was “insignificant”.

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Also an airline official said, “There is no boom as you would have expected but on some flights you get like 80 percent load factor. Like in a 150-seater capacity aircraft and we are carrying 120 passengers when you would have expected a full capacity because of the season. That rush is not there. At times you have 90 passengers , 80 and so on.”

The official blamed the situation on the economic conditions in the country.

Our correspondent learnt that fares on the domestic routes have reduced with a Lagos-Abuja one-way flight going for as low as 85,800 on Air Peace and N120,000 on Ibom Air compared to N150,000 charged previously on the same route. Also ValueJet Lagos-Abuja ticket goes for 86,048 as against over N100,000.

Our correspondent learnt that Azman, which resumed operation on Monday, even sold tickets as cheap as N50,000 just to woo passengers.

Another airline official said, “From the traffic I have seen, there is no rush. Yesterday (Monday) you could buy flights for today (Tuesday).

“Gone were the days of rush in tickets. The same thing happened, the flights are not really expensive. When Azman resumed on Monday, the airline had to reduce its flights to N50,000 from Abuja to Lagos just to woo back some of his passengers.”

Aviation analyst, Olumide Ohunayo said apart from the economic situation in the country, the confusion on the holidays affected air travel.

“The Ministry of Interior didn’t get its announcement right and that has put spanner on the travelling plans for those who believed the public holidays would be on Wednesday and Thursday. I think that was what affected air travel more than economic conditions,” he said.

 

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