Airlines increase flight seats to reduce high operating costs

In an attempt to beat high operating costs in the aviation industry, Domestic airlines have increased the number of flight seats, allowing more travellers to commute and boost revenue.

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

According to her, the lower seats, although cheaper, were to drive up the average seats per departure and translate into lower per-seat costs.

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.”

The PUNCH reports that aviation experts have expressed deep worries over the potential negative impact of the recent increase in airfares on the aviation industry occasioned by the scarcity of foreign exchange amongst other challenges.

Though the minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, had promised to resolve issues facing the sector, experts said poor implementation of policy regulation was a bane affecting the industry.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, of Centurion Security, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, called for a thorough examination of the commercial addition sector by the relevant authorities so as to ascertain the financial health of all airlines.

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