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Yuletide: Air fares fluctuate as harmattan haze disrupts flight operations

As Nigerians mark Christmas and New Year festivities, flights operations have not been that smooth despite the influx of passengers following harmattan haze across the country, Daily Trust findings have shown.

Checks by our correspondent indicate that many flights have been delayed or cancelled owing to the harmattan sand dust and storms.

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This is beside the rate fluctuations experienced by passengers with airlines slightly adjusting their fares.

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It was gathered that flights operations to states in the north and some southern routes have been either cancelled or delayed since Saturday due to the harmattan.

The harmattan haze has become a common occurrence during yuletide and the trend is expected to continue till January.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had issued alert to airline operators and pilots to observe the weather conditions very well before any takeoff.

A source told our correspondent yesterday that flights to Kano were cancelled yesterday and Saturday as the visibility was poor.

“This is a normal occurrence which is being managed by airlines. Surprisingly it is not all the northern states that are affected. For instance, as I am talking to you Yola, Sokoto and Maiduguri are clear but Kano is not since Saturday”, he said.

The harmattan haze also affected Asaba, Benin and other South-South airports, it was gathered.

Meanwhile, there was a marginal hike in prices of tickets as passengers made last minute booking for  holiday travels.

The passengers who booked weeks or even months ahead of the festive period enjoyed relatively discounted fares.

A one-way trip from Lagos to Abuja for instance cost as much as N45,000 when our correspondent tried to book.

The cheapest fare seen on some of the websites of the airlines including Azman Air, Arik Air, Air Peace, Med-View, Dana, are around N30,000.

An airline official who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity however said the slight adjustment in price was due to the rush by passengers, adding, “This is peak period”.

Spokesman of Dana Air, Mr. Kingsley Ezenwa said the airline has tried as much as possible to keep the fare considerably low in order not to inflict hardship on passengers.

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