Air passengers at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, have urged the Federal Government to strengthen the nation’s economic policies to improve the value of the naira to curb skyrocketing air fares.

The passengers made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.

According to them, strengthening the value of the naira will help local airlines operators buy the aviation fuel (JET A1) at a lower exchange rate and thereby reducing the cost of domestic flights.

A passenger, Mr Olakitan Raymond, a media and entertainment expert, urged the Federal Government to put in place a system that enables the nation’s currency to appreciate, saying this would in turn affect the price of the aviation fuel.

He said devaluation of naira had become commonplace  in recent years in the country, contributing to the scarcity of aviation fuel. “This is making local airlines to keep increasing their air fares. I am coming from Lagos. The ticket was about N72,000 and I booked two days ago with Air Peace.

“Air fare is very high. Of course, in December now, it is going to shoot up. Airlines are also complaining about operation charges, different taxations among others.

“Those in charge of economic policy should know what to do and how to go about it to rescue Nigeria, “ he said.

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For his part, Pastor Segun Akanmu, appealed to the Federal Government to all within its means to free the nation from inflation that had badly affected aviation sector.

Akanmu said travelling by air was no more for commoners in the country as air tickets of all the local airlines were outrightly outrageous.

“I travelled to Lagos two weeks ago. I bought the ticket at N78, 000 from Ibom Air, while my return to Abuja on Air Peace was N70.000. The situation in the country is alarming.

“The government also increased the fare for parking space and imposed toll gates in other parking spaces, which used to be free. Most of these things bounce back on the passengers.

“Initially, the airlines increased the fare to N50, 000 but immediately they discovered that aviation fuel was becoming scarce, they have to increase it a little bit, “ he said.

Another passenger, who works with Nigerian Woman Trust Fund, but preferred anonymity, explained that aviation sector was at a critical stage and relevant stakeholders` attention was urgently needed for its survival. He said the masses were not finding it easy to travel by air as usual to their places of interest as a result of exorbitant prices of tickets. “My colleague and I paid N178, 000 for our flight from Abuja to Taraba on Tuesday. For our coming, we paid N140, 000 from Taraba back to Abuja by Air Peace for economic class.

“We booked like two or three days to our departures“ he said.