By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The domestic terminals of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos witnessed influx of passengers on Thursday ahead of the Easter holidays.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had declared April 19 and 22 to mark the Easter celebration by Christians in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
NAN correspondents that visited the airport terminals observed that more travelers were leaving Lagos to other destinations.
At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), the counters of Air Peace and Arik Air had the long queues of passengers, while Dana Air and Max Air also had the long queues at the MMA2.
The upsurge of the out-bound passengers led to increase in air fares due to lack of seats on available flights.
Mostly affected were flights from Lagos to Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Benin which usually sell for between N25, 000 and N32,000, but have gone up to about N42,000 and 46,000.
A travel agent, Mr Madu Ezechi, said the increase in the air fares was normal due to the high demand by passengers.
“This is a long holiday and many people want to take advantage of it to go home, see their loved ones and settle other issues.
“So, getting tickets is a bit difficult, especially if you are traveling in groups. Some people want to sit with their family members and are willing to pay for it,” he said.
A passenger, Mr George Uko, said many Nigerians have embraced air travel, especially as it was safer and faster.
Uko, however urged domestic airlines to improve their services by reducing incidents of delayed and cancelled flights.
“Flight delay and cancellation are still big issues. I remember one time my flight was delayed for almost two hours and I nearly missed my appointment. I was not happy at all, “he said.
NAN reports that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had assured passengers and other airport users that her network of airports were fully prepared and ready for the usual upsurge in passenger traffic during the Easter period.
FAAN, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, on Wednesday said that all necessary facilities, infrastructure and manpower had been deployed to ensure seamless operation at the airports.
She said that the relevant security agencies had been mobilised to beef up security at all airports during the period.
Yakubu advised intending travelers to endeavour to leave for the airport early enough to ensure that check-in formalities were conducted in good time.