Domestic air fares skyrockets
Ethiopian Airlines has increased fares on its domestic flights up to 200% to counter higher operating costs caused by a weak birr. The latest round of fare increases comes ahead of the November to April touristic season in Ethiopia, scaling up so high abruptly. Officials at the airlines say prices in the past were cheaper because they were heavily subsidized by the state.
The one-way fares rise on all domestic routes including Addis Ababa to Baher Dar to 3027 Birr ($158) from 1090 ($57); Addis Ababa to Lalibela to 3124 birr ($163) from 1333 ($70), Addis Ababa to Aksum flights to 5009 birr ($261) from 1422 birr ($75), Addis Ababa to Mekele to 4432 birr ($231) from 1320 birr ($69), Addis Ababa to Arba Minch to 3181 birr ($166) from 1225 birr ($59) and Addis Ababa to Gondar to 3772 birr ($197) from 1210 ($63).
The national carrier had for years adopted a subsidized rate on its domestic flights to promote tourism and local travelers. The subsidy program has drawn steady criticism — namely from airlines administrators, who say it wastes money by providing what amounts to luxury travel to tourists who enter the country using other commercial airlines.
On their part, tour companies are protesting vehemently saying the increment is exorbitant, abrupt and not fair. They said that they were not approached by the airline to discuss about the increment.
A top official of the national carrier, said, “This is not a new thing that we suddenly implemented; the regulations of the airline states that subsidized prices are for the locals.”
((All the exchange rates are in based in today’s, October 31, 2013, rate.)