The Federal Government on Thursday described the over 100 per cent increase in domestic airfares as inevitable. It considered it as one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It also disclosed that 300 employees of Arik Air would have been sacked by the carrier if not for the intervention of the government.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu made this disclosure in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
According to him, the ticket prices which have gone up astronomically over the last week or so is one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “The aviation, tourism and travel industry is one of the most devastated industries. Because we had a shutdown for several months, the airlines were not making money and there are fixed costs that they have to contend with.
“They have to maintain the aircraft and unfortunately most of these aircraft are maintained outside the country.”
He further explained that because of the shutdown, airlines could not find slots to take their aircrafts out, adding that the dollar rate had also gone up and operators needed to raise enough money.
On the issue of 300 sacked staff employees of Arik Air, the NCAA boss said there was an issue but the staff were never sacked. He admitted that there was a threat by one of the airlines and some disengagement disagreements, but the NCAA intervened.
He said, “The last report I received, they have made significant progress in closing that gaps. We hope they conclude and nobody is sacked.”