No fewer than 12 million passengers travelled through the nationâ€™s airports in 2009, and this is a 21% improvement on the traffic for 2008.
According to the Directorate of Operations of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), this figure defies earlier predictions that passenger traffic globally wouldÂ witness a drastic decline of at least about five per cent during the above period.
The actual traffic figure for the last quarter of 2009 was 3,576,656 against 3,025,185 recorded in 2008.
The figures show that more people were patronising air transportation as a means of travelling within and outside the country, since air travel had been shown not to beÂ only safer but also a cheaper and faster means of travelling, both forÂ business and leisure..
Aircraft movement also showed a marginal growth in the 4th quarter of 2009, the period under review.
The directorate said the total figure for the period was 59,583 aircraft, against the 53,978 recorded within the same period in the year 2008, for both the local and international routes.
, representing a percentage growth of 10 per cent.The cargo movement, according to FAAN, also showed a positive growth figure of 45,691,120.8 against the figure of 29,991,259.7 in the preceding year, representing a 52.5 per cent growth.
The total passenger traffic figure for the whole of the year 2009 is about 12.5million passengers.
â€œThis shows that Nigerian airports have great potentials for growth and the Management of FAAN is not unmindful of this fact.
â€œFacilities that need to be upgraded and refurbished have received attention in recent times. Runways are being overlaid, airfield lightings are either being replaced or installed. The Port Harcourt International Airport was re-opened recently, and its AFL upgraded.
â€œThe security of all the passengers is receiving greater attention, with the introduction of more modern security equipment such as hand-held metal detectors, X-ray machines for luggage, as well as body scanners which were recently acquired and are being installed.
â€œThe authority is also expecting brand new fire tenders soon, all these in an effort to make Nigerian airports more customer-friendly,â€ FAAN said in a statement issued in Lagos.