Indications have emerged that soaring domestic air fares may soon crash by 33 per cent from the present average of N30,000 per hour flight to N20,000 following the return of some local airlines to business.
Dana Air, which stopped operations seven months ago after the tragic crash of June 3, 2012, resumed operations on Friday with fare as low as N14,400 for a Lagos-Abuja flight. The airline offered N11,000 fare for passengers who booked online.
Chanchangi Airlines also returned to business three weeks ago, selling its one-hour flight ticket at N25,000.
First Nation, which also stopped flight operations a few months ago, is due to return next month.
The suspension of flights by Dana Air, First Nation and Air Nigeria last year forced air fare to increase from over N20,000 to over N30,000 due to shortage of aircraft.
Some industry analysts have also predicted that air fare will drop to between N18,000 and N22,000 within the next few months.
According to them, the coming of Dana and Medview has led to a capacity increase in terms of the number of available aircraft seats.
They argued that some domestic airlines had taken delivery of new aircraft in the last few months, and that this would facilitate the supply of more seats in the market.
The Assistant General Secretary, Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Tukur, said he expected air fare to be between N18,000 and N22,000 soon.
He said, “The industry is controlled by the law of demand and supply. More airlines are coming in while even the existing ones are buying more planes to cope with the demand.
“I believe during this year, may be in a few months’ time, the fare will drop to between N18,000 and N22,000. The reason it will drop is that the airlines will want to fill their planes.”
An Executive Director in Dana Air, Mr. Francis Ogboro, told reporters shortly after the airline’s inaugural flight on Friday that the airline would acquire some Boeing 737 planes within the next six months.
Dana made its inaugural flight on Friday with several celebrities on board, including the popular comedian, Mr. Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basket Mouth.
Basket Mouth, who is one of the airline’s brand ambassadors, said he was not afraid to fly the airline again because he believed it operates safe flights.
He said, “I will remain loyal to Dana because accident can happen to any airline. British Airways, Airfrance and a host of other airlines had been involved in air crashes. Dana is a safe airline and I will never be afraid to board any of its planes any time.”
Meanwhile, the Aviation Safety Network has rated Dana Air’s June 3, 2012 crash in Lagos as the worst accident in its 2012 global survey of air accidents.
In a report released on Friday, ASN said the 2012 airliner accident statistics showed a total of 475 fatalities from 23 fatal airliner accidents.
The report quoted the President, ASN, Mr. Harro Ranter, as saying, “The worst accident happened on June 3, 2012 when a Dana Air MD-83 crashed while approaching Lagos, Nigeria, killing 153 on board and 10 on the ground.”
He, however, said that 2012 was an extremely safe year for civil aviation, according to the ASN data.
“The Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 23 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 475 fatalities and 36 ground fatalities. Both figures are extremely lower than the 10-year average of 34 accidents and 773 fatalities. In fact, 2012 was the safest year since 1945 by number of accidents,” he added.