June 28, 2022

Air passenger traffic surges 44% to 15.32m on travel restriction relaxation

Foreign airlines’ funds blocked in Nigeria hit $743.7m - IATA

By Prince Okafor 

LAGOS—Air passenger traffic across the country witnessed a significant increase of 44 per cent to 15.32 million in 2021 from 10.67 million in 2020 on the back of relaxation of travel restrictions imposed by the Federal Government to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

This is even as the Federal Government has projected a drop in the nation’s passenger traffic in the next 15 years to 14.8 million (2037), indicating a 3.4 per cent decline over the current figure.

Meanwhile, a breakdown of the passenger traffic statistics, according to data obtained by Vanguard from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, shows an increase in both the domestic and international passenger traffic.

Analysis of the data shows that the domestic passenger traffic rose by a significant   43.3 per cent to 9.07 million in 2021 from 13.01 million in 2020, while the international passenger traffic saw a 44.4 per cent increase to 2.32 million from 1.6 million in the previous year.

It would be recalled that, in 2020, the Federal Government shut the air­ space for three months to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, while the international gateways were shut for about five months.

The report also indicated a total of 324,811 aircraft movements in 2020 with the domestic recording of 151,512, while the international had 173,299 movements.

The traffic further increased significantly in 2021 by 46 per cent to 474,960 with 221,212 aircraft movements recorded for the domestic routes and 253,748 for the international scene.

The domestic airlines include Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Azman Air, Med-View Airlines, Dana Air, Overland Airways, Air Peace, Max Air, Ibom Air, United Airlines and Green Africa Airways.