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New exchange rate jacks up int’l airfares

The recent floating of naira has taken its toll on international airfares with ticket prices on several routes increasing by about 40 per cent, checks…

The recent floating of naira has taken its toll on international airfares with ticket prices on several routes increasing by about 40 per cent, checks by Daily Trust have shown.

From N665 last week, the exchange rate for international flight booking was pegged at N770 on Wednesday, triggering an increase in air fares.

An average six-hour international flight now goes for over N2m in line with the new exchange rate, which our correspondent learnt is now dependent on the Importers and Exporters (I&E) windows following the unification of the exchange rate system.

Daily Trust reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has quashed the multiple exchange rate as part of the economic reform of the present administration.

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The floating of the naira now implies that the exchange rate would now be determined by the market forces.

The naira depreciated further this week with one dollar exchanged at over N770, which has also affected the prices of international air fares that went up as of yesterday.

It was learnt that the prices might remain astronomically high depending on when the market would stabilise.

As of yesterday, a Lagos-London flight on British Airways costs over N1m with the Premium Economy going for N2.2m.

It also costs as much as N1.3m on Ethiopian Airlines and N1.8m on RwandAir.

It was however learnt that the ticket prices would continue to oscillate based on the market forces as the exchange rate is expected to open at N751 today (Thursday).

President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye in a chat with our correspondent confirmed that the rate would go down to N751 today.

She said, “At the close of business, we would know what it would be the following day. The I & E window, once it closes, we know what it would go for the next day.

“The information has reached us that tomorrow (today), it will be 751.”

The president said the air fares have gone up with the new exchange rate, adding, “From Saturday, it was N663 before. If I gave you a fare yesterday when it was N663, of course it would be different today when it is N770.

A travel analyst, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo said with the new devaluation of the naira and the current I&E exchange rate, tickets would definitely go haywire.

He confirmed that a direct flight to one of the European countries yesterday costs N3m.


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