The cost of international air tickets has increased exponentially in recent weeks, as local demand remains elevated and more passengers from neighbouring Nigeria opt to fly out of Accra to various destinations in Europe, America, and popular holiday destinations around the world.
A round trip from Accra to London in economy class, which used to cost GH¢ 10,000 just a few weeks ago, has increased to between GH¢ 20,000 and GH¢ 43,000, depending on availability and the airline of choice.
Though airfares are generally high in summer, the increased demand from passengers from neighbouring countries and the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar are the main undercurrents for the current surge in prices.
The President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Susan Akporiaye, confirmed the new development to Nigerian news media The Punch last week.
“Nigerians are already flying from Ghana to other countries because the lower inventories of tickets are no longer available in Nigeria. People go to Accra because Accra still has the lowest inventory available.
“By the time all airlines restrict sales to only the highest inventories like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have done, then more people will move to Accra to fly,” she added.
Nigeria’s situation has been brought on by the inability of most international airlines to repatriate their funds to their home countries due to forex unavailability.
Airlines still incurring huge operational costs in the West African country, therefore, increased their fares and urged passengers to book and pay online or pay dollars at their local offices in Nigeria. A total of US$464million of airlines’ funds were locked up in Nigeria as of July 2022.
Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, if the situation is not resolved by then.
“Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution. Regrettably, there has been no progress,” Rula Tadros, Emirates’ Public Relations Manager said.