Amid the rise in airline ticket fares, Nigerian airports recorded 13 million local passengers in 2021, a 43.41 per cent over air travellers in the previous year.
Air fares were hiked in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 to cushion the effects of lockdown on the airline operators. Fresh increase is in force now.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest report entitled, “Air Transportation Report for 2021”, showed that 9 million local travellers were recorded in 2020.
The nation has been beset with insecurity challenges, fuelled by banditry, kidnapping and insurgency that have shifted focus to air travelling.
Only last month, Nigerians that have taken to travelling by rail retraced, following a terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, in which over 8 passengers were killed, several wounded and many abducted.
Although the domestic airline operators have hiked airfares by 100 per cent effective March 1 2022 in response to the rising cost of aviation fuel and the worsening inflation, the fear of kidnappers will push more people to embrace air travel being the safest in the country for now.
The cheapest air fare, the economy ticket that once was between N22,000 and N30,000 is now N50,000 for an hour flight.
“Aviation fuel cost above N410 in Lagos, N422 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N429 in Kano per litre, while the price of spare parts has jumped on the dollar rate which now sells for between N580 to N600”, stated Airline Operators of Nigeria, (AON), in defence of the air ticket increase.
AON also expressed displeasure at the ” Unavailability of Forex for spare parts and maintenance. 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.”
NBS however reported 6.5 million the total arrivals in 2021 higher than the 4.9 million recorded in 2020.
“In 2021, the total number of domestic passengers who passed through Nigerian airports was 13,006,481 as against 9,069,295 in 2020, which represents a 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,” the report stated.
“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″ noted the NBS which stated that this represents a 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 NBS added.
The Bureau noted that departure stood at 6.5 million in 2021 compared to 4.2 million in 2020, adding that 2.2 million international passengers passed through Nigerian airports in 2021, as against 1.4 million passengers in 2020. It represents a 57.61 per cent growth rate
According to the statistics. office, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja recorded a total of 4.76 million domestic travellers, accounting for 37 per cent of the total passengers in 2021, while the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos State followed with a total of 4.09 million domestic passengers, accounting for 31 per cent of the recorded domestic travels in 2021.