It seems that two African governments have raised concerns over the huge disparity in ticket prices that foreign carriers charge in relation to their neighbours. Zimbabwe's Minister for Tourism, Walter Mzembi, bemoaned the high fares charged on the lucrative Harare - Johannesburg route which in some cases are as high as USD$600 for a return flight.
"The prices of flights which are deemed to be too high are affecting Zimbabwe’s destination accessibility and connectivity and has become a cause for concern for tourists and the government at large.
Cde Mzembi said his ministry is concerned with the fares of up to $600 or more that are being charged for people to fly between Harare and Johannesburg.
He said such prices do not promote tourism considering that the same amount flies a tourist between Johannesburg and New York on a budget flight."
Though unhappy about the current status quo, Zimbabwe has not gone as far as Nigeria, who have threatened to withdraw the operating licences of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, claiming that the fares they charged for Nigeria - UK flights were not proportional to those in other West African countries. According to the country's aviation authorities, the difference between fares Nigerians pay on the Lagos-London-Lagos route and what Ghanaians pay on the Accra-London-Accra route is US$4,239 for first class, US$1,055 on business class and US$920 on premium economy.
On 26th March 2012, Nigeria's Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, issued a 30 day warning to all "international airlines operating in Nigeria which failed to dismantle the fare imbalance and other sharp practices within the next 30 days would be banned from operating in the country."
Read More Here [Panapress]“We are seriously concerned and worried by the reluctance to restore parity within the region by the foreign airlines. They have been using all kinds of delay tactics; this is unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated.
''Nigerian passengers do not deserve this kind of exploitation and we are willing and ready to stand up to their rights,” she said.
It should be noted that this impasse comes after a row between British Airways and Nigeria's Arik Air over the denial of landing slots to the latter at London's Heathrow airport, and after Nigeria's Government fined British Airways and Virgin Atlantic US$235 million in 2011 for alleged price-fixing on the Nigeria-UK route; a fine that was later overturned on appeal.