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Airlines increase flight seats to beat high cost of operation



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Domestic airlines have expanded the number of aircraft seats as part of measures to reduce high operating costs in the aviation business, allowing more passengers to commute and increasing revenue.

Responding to the effect of foreign exchange scarcity in an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Susan Akporiaye, President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, said the new development was part of coping mechanisms used by airline owners to increase the capacity of their airlines amid dwindling revenue.

According to her, the lower seats, while less expensive, would increase the average number of seats per departure and result in reduced per-seat expenses.

She said, “Nothing has changed in the operating costs yet due to the fluctuating exchange rate, which is affecting our operating costs. The only thing that has changed is that airlines are beginning to release the lower seats now. Some of them have started releasing lower seats.

“Earlier, the airlines stopped selling off all the cheap classes and were only selling the expensive ones. The airlines had cut off all the cheap seats and were selling only the expensive ones because of the trapped fund issue, but now that the rate of exchange is high, Most of them are releasing the cheap seats to get more revenue to remain afloat in the business.”

According to reports, aviation experts have expressed concerns over the potential negative impact of the recent increase in airfares on the aviation industry, occasioned by the scarcity of foreign exchange, among other challenges.

Though the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, promised to address the sector’s problems, experts stated poor policy implementation remained a stumbling block.

Meanwhile, Centurion Security’s Chief Executive Officer, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, has asked for a thorough audit of the commercial addition sector by competent authorities in order to determine the financial health of all airlines.

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