The Q1 report released by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said aviation industry has recorded an upsurge in passenger traffic, with no fewer than 18 million passengers now travelling the Nigerian airspace in a year.
The surge, compared with the 2017 figures, represents about 11 per cent increase in passenger traffic.
Similarly, the marginal growth trend continued in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, with no fewer than 3.5 million passengers travelling through the airports.
The Q1 report released by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), showed an increase of 76,397 passengers and 2.23 per cent growth compared to the 3.43 million passengers recorded in the first quarter of 2018.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at a recent meeting with stakeholders in Lagos, said despite the problem of funding, it was not all grim for the industry, as it recorded marginal growth of 33 per cent rise in local passenger traffic and 11 per cent in international travels.
Both segments bring the total yearly traffic to 18 million passengers a year. In effect, the industry’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have improved some notches from 0.4 to 0.6 per cent as at last year. Sirika said: “It was very difficult achieving all these because we went through very challenging times. The income of government has lessened; so you sometimes see aviation having about 11 per cent fund release. It is only magic that could make you do some of these things (projects).
“The major and number one challenge is the source of funding. I’m sure airlines like Air Peace, Dana and others would want to be the best airline on earth, but they cannot because there is no funding available. Yet, you cannot complete with those that have 120 aircraft fleet, and all their airplanes within the age bracket of five years,” he said.
Recall that in 2018, international air passengers’ traffic rose by 13 per cent, up from 1.99 million in 2017 to 2.25 million in 2018.The monthly breakdown released by FAAN showed that 1.42 million passengers comprising 789,883 arrivals and 633,069 departures in 18,653 aircraft movements were recorded in the month of January.
However, the traffic dropped in February, as 976,112 passengers comprising 462,447 arrivals and 513,665 departures were recorded. Note that the drop in air passengers traffic in February may be due to the general elections.March, however, showed a rebound as the figures rose to 1.11 million passengers, comprising of 556,297 arrivals and 554,220 departures.