The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has explained the increment in ticket rates, now N50,000 minimum for economy class. AON Vice-President, Allen Onyema, said only â€œa very stupid businessmanâ€ would not know â€œthere is fire on the mountainâ€. The Air Peace Chairman told reporters that Jet A1 fuel which previously sold for N200 per litre now costs N430. Onyema rejected the labelling of AON as a â€œcartelâ€, adding that they never agreed to fix a specific rate. He recalled that airlines charged more than N50,000 occasionally including the Christmas period. Onyema said Ground Handling Companies raised their charges by 300 per cent after the National Assemblyâ€™s approval. â€œSo if the cost of my operation has gone up by 300 percent, just from the ground handling services alone, what do I do?â€ he queried. â€œIf the cost of aviation fuel has risen by over 200 percent, what should I do? If the cost of forex has risen from N340 to N585, what should I do?â€ The AON reminded Nigerians that the airline business is â€œdollarizedâ€. â€œIn year 2000, the lowest fare was N2,200, equivalent to $100 then. Now 22 years down the line, Nigerian airlines, we were charging less than $30, $40. â€œDo you need to look for reasons why airlines are closing shops? Over 50 airlines have closed down in this country. Has anybody bothered to find out why?â€, he quipped.
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