The festive season is here again, and many people are traveling back to their towns to spend time with their families. Most southeasterners residing in Lagos usually prefer taking night buses or flights.
Unfortunately, for many South Easterners in Lagos, the flight rates are so high, with many airlines asking for over N450,000 on return tickets. This is a far cry from the 50,000 –70,000 naira collected last December.
We will take you through six factors that affect the flight rate from Lagos to the South East and what can be done to mitigate them.
Factors That Affect Flight Fares From Lagos to South East
So, if you are wondering what might be the cause of the unreasonable increase in the cost of flights, here are some reasons:
One of the primary factors responsible for the high flight prices from Lagos to south east states like Owerri, and Anambra is the season. Since many people are expected to spend the Yuletide with their families in the towns and villages, the flight fares have skyrocketed due to high demand. There is a high demand for flight tickets for people traveling from Lagos to Anambra, Lagos to Owerri, Lagos to Abia, and Lagos to Enugu, amongst others. This December period has always been like that, and people flood airlines to get the best deals back to their hometowns.
2. Airline Competition
Another reason why flight tickets from Lagos to the South East are so expensive is competition. There is huge competition among the many indigenous airlines that are playing the routes. Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, Arik Air, and Ibom Air are trying to outdo one another. Since not all of these Indigenous flights go to the southeast, the few that do have increased their flight fares.
Air Peace has been the most expensive of these airlines because they go to different routes in the South East and beyond. While you can use some other airlines, not all of them reach major southeastern towns, as you might be dropped off at Port Harcourt or Asaba.
The insecurity of traveling by road is one of the reasons why people prefer traveling via air. Most people are afraid of kidnappers and armed robbers and decide to travel by air. The surge in the number of people booking flights to travel for Christmas led to an increase in flight fares. That’s to say, it’s the law of supply and demand.
Another factor is the insecurity in the Southeast which led to many people opting to travel by air rather than road. Also, if the number of people traveling to a particular location is small, the flight fare might increase.
4. Fuel Prices
Since the removal of fuel subsidies by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government, jet fuel, which all planes use, has become more expensive. Aviation fuel that cost around 700 to 800 naira per liter last year is now about 1,600 naira per liter. This has led to most airlines increasing their flight fares across the country. Aside from the expensive jet fuel, maintenance costs have also increased. Engine oils and the prices of other lubricants have also increased astronomically. While airlines are trying to meet up with the cost, the burdens are passed over to customers.
Nigeria’s inflation is about 32% today, which has affected every aspect of the economy. With the current dollar rate at #1,200 and pounds at #1,525, things have become very expensive in the country. Since most fuel and most airplane equipment are imported, this has contributed to the high flight rates.
Running an airline in the country has become more difficult and expensive, so these airlines need to break through. To survive, airlines flying to the South East and other states have transferred these costs to the customers. While an unfortunate decision, this is the best these airlines can do to avoid going bankrupt.
6. High Demand
There is a higher demand for flight tickets from Lagos to the South East than from other parts of the country. With this, the airlines have been forced to increase their rates to adequately cope with these situations. Igbos have millions of people in Lagos, with more than 70% wishing to travel. With very few airlines, there is a strain on the few local airlines whose destinations are in the Southeast.
Tips that Can Help Travelers to the South East
If you want to travel from Lagos to the southeast, here are some useful tips that can help you:
If you want to avoid high flight rates to the southeast, your best bet is to book flights ahead. Most of these airlines flying Lagos to South East routes allow you to book 3 to 4 months ahead. If you are sure of traveling, you will get a seat for as little as N100,000 if you book around July and August. If you are not sure of how to book ahead, talk to a travel agent who will assist you.
Use Alternative Transport Means
While it takes flights 45–60 minutes from Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) to any of the southeastern states, it is expensive. If you are on a budget but still wish to travel from Lagos to the east, transport buses are a good idea. Some top transports that you can use are:
- Chisco Transport
- Peace Mass Transport
- ABC Transport
- God is good transport.
These are some of the most popular bus transports around, and they have affordable prices. You can decide to use the ones with AC (more expensive) or the general ones. They are a viable means to get to the southeast within 10–12 hours.
Travel in January
If you are an entrepreneur and control your business, you might shift your travel to January. This is ideal because there will be fewer people going to the south-east from Lagos. If you choose this option, expect the rates to slash by more than 50% by the second week of January. However, if you work for a firm or government, this might be difficult, unless you are given early leave by your employer.
If you are up to five to eight and want to travel to the southeast from Lagos, you should come together. If one of you has a car, the group can contribute fuel money to take you to and from the city. However, before doing this, there has to be an agreement between all of you on who will drive or if you will hire a driver.
Aside from the fuel money contribution, you should also do clean car maintenance on the car and ensure all the documents are complete. There are many checkpoints leading to the southeast, so to avoid paying fines and being delayed by security agencies, be guided.
Send Money Home
If you find the flight rate from Lagos to the South East expensive, then you might need to cancel your trip. Instead of paying 400,000–600,000 naira for travel, just send half of that amount to your family. They will certainly appreciate the token you send them.
While it might be sad not to see them physically, you might resort to WhatsApp video calls or Zoom calls. At least you will be able to greet them and ask about their well-being.
The flights from Lagos to the South East have become out of reach for the average Nigerian. We have discussed some factors that affect these rates and how you can avoid this problem. Unless inflation drops to single digits and exchange rates become lower, these flight prices will remain the same until 2024. If these flight rates don’t tally with your budget, find an alternative.