Even as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman has been on social media trial for allegedly approving a review of rates for staff flight tickets on domestic routes, especially to the tune of N320,000 for for a business class passenger return ticket from Lagos to Yola and N290,000 for economy class on same route, the authority has cleared the air.
In a telephone chat, the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Communication of NPA, Eng Adams Jatto said the approved rates applies to only the MD, board members and very senior officials of the authority.
He said the approved amount goes beyond the surface amount for local flights, but that it is the total sum of money required for such a staff travel, including airport tax and transportation outside the airport.
He stressed further that transportation to and from the airport has also been factored into the fare including other expenses that may be incurred during air travel.
“I cannot start including all these breakdowns into the memo to the MD. Besides, the airfare will be paid directly into the traveller’s account. For approval on airfare for travellers on business class, it is just for a few people like the MD, Board members and other very senior management staff of the NPA; these categories of people are not frequent travellers. So that is the truth about it,” Jatto said on telephone.
In a memo trending on social media, the NPA MD allegedly approved various sums for different routes. For instance, a sum of N320,000 was approved for a business class passenger return ticket from Lagos to Yola and N290,000 for economy class on same route.
In the memo dated 4th of January 2020, titled “Review of Airfare Rates (Local)” emanating from and signed by the General Manager Corporate and Strategic Planning, the approval was necessitated as a result of “hike in airfare.”
The memo contained the revised airfare rates across various routes with prices for business and economy classes.
The new rates approved are N300,000 for business class on Lagos to Maiduguri and Lagos to Port Harcourt routes which translates to N150,000 per trip. The document also shows N250,000 per trip on the economy class for Lagos to Port Harcourt and Lagos to Maiduguri ,which is also N125,000 per trip.
The document showed approval of N270,000 for business class on Lagos to Jos and N250,000 for economy class on same route.
Return tickets on routes like Lagos to Abuja, Lagos to Benin, Lagos to Calabar, Lagos to Kaduna, Lagos to Kano and Lagos to Uyo had N250,000 approved for business class and N200,000 for economy class except Uyo with N220,000.
On the Sokoto route, N260,000 was approved for business class ticket and economy ticket to cost the Authority N240,000. Business class fares for Owerri and Ilorin were the least of the approved sums of N200,000 and N180,000 respectively with N180,000 and N150,000 approved for economy seats.
Respondents online are faulting the approved figures, as, according to them, fares from Lagos to Abuja do not cost more than N70,000 per trip on the business class and N40,000 for economy class.
The memo signed by Adam Jatto read: “The Division has observed the recent hikes in the prices of local tickets across the country. In view of the above and in order to keep abreast with the reality of our times, it is hereby recommended that the rates for local flights be reviewed upwards accordingly.”