Nigerian Airports witnessed increased patronage between January and December 2021, as the number of air travellers rose to 15.23 million from 10.55 m recorded in 2020.
According to the latest Air Transport Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the figure includes domestic and international passengers.
This means that air travellers across Nigerian airports rose by 44.36 per cent as of the end of 2021.
Details of the report show that the domestic air passengers rose to 13 million in 2021, up from 9m in 2020.
Also, international passengers who passed through Nigerian Airports climbed to 2.2m, up from 1.4m in 2020.
In terms of arrival, Nigerian airports recorded 6.53m passengers, while 4.87m passengers departed the country.
The report read in part, “In 2021, the total number of domestic passengers who passed through Nigerian airports were 13,006,481 as against 9,069,295 in 2020, which represents 43.41 per cent growth rate.
“The number of arrivals in 2021 stood at 6,533,740, which was higher compared to 4,870,072 in 2020. Also, departure stood at 6,472,741 in 2021 compared to 4,199,223 in 2020.
“Similarly, the total number of international passengers who passed through Nigerian airports were 2,219,146 in 2021 as against 1,408,026 passengers in 2020.
“This represents 57.61 per cent growth rate. The number of arrivals in 2021 stood at 1,109,621, which was higher compared to 690,765 in 2020. Also, departure stood at 1,109,525 in 2021 compared to 717,261 in 2020.”
The report added that Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport recorded the highest number of domestic air travellers for the period under review. The airport recorded 2.75m air passengers.
It was followed closely by the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos which recorded 2.09m air travelers during the period under review and Port Harcourt which recorded 900,728 air passengers.
Unlike domestic travellers, the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, recorded the highest with 1.59m international travellers as of the end of 2021.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja ranked second with 565,062 passengers.
The report also shows that Minna Airport didn’t record any travel activity last year.
There are however concerns that the number of domestic air travelers may begin to decline as a result of the recent hike in airfares.
Domestic airline operators had in February resolved to increase airfares by over 60 per cent with effect from March 1.
The hike in airline tickets came soon after operators, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria issued a statement complaining about the current high cost of aviation fuel and the unavailability of foreign exchange.
The statement read in part, “Aviation fuel cost above N410 in Lagos, N422 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N429 in Kano per litre, while the dollar, which sells for between N580 to N600 is in short supply.”
“Airlines carry out most of their activities in dollars which today sells for between N580 to N600 and is in short supply.
“Nigeria’s domestic airlines are in a ‘life and death’ struggle to secure the Forex they need to acquire their spare parts to maintain their aircraft.”
” This is a major influence on how quickly a grounded aircraft can be fixed and restored to its flight schedule, which in turn has a huge impact on the schedule reliability of the domestic airlines.”
While the Federal Government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has ordered domestic airlines to reverse the hike, investigations show that the directive hasn’t been implemented.