Latest figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) have indicated that no fewer than 15,232, 597 air travellers went through Nigeria‚Äôs airports in 2016.
However,¬† in real terms, the output in the aviation sector declined by 4.9 per cent between 2015 and 2016, with the largest year-on-year fall recorded in the final quarter of 2016 standing at 13.3 per cent. Of this 15,232,597 air travellers in 2016, 72 per cent were domestic passengers, travelling within Nigeria while the remaining 28 per cent were international, entering or exiting the country.
The NBS‚Äô report captioned: ‚ÄėFourth Quarter 2016 and Full Year 2016 Air Transportation Data,‚Äô noted that between 2015 and 2016, the number of passengers recorded by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) increased by 6.3 per cent. ‚ÄúHowever, despite the recession which may have been expected to reduce demand for travel, the number of passengers using most airports increased.
‚ÄúThe fall in output was likely to be more of a reflection of increased costs of operations, rather than decreased demand. ‚ÄúHowever, since the publication of the last report, FAAN has included data on passengers travelling through more airports, including Bauchi, Eket, Gombe and Uyo. ‚ÄúTogether, the newly included airports accounted for 667,877 passengers in 2016, or 4.4 per cent of the total. ‚ÄúExcluding these from the comparison with 2015, reveals that between these two years, total passenger traffic increased by 1.6 per cent for those airports included in both years,‚ÄĚ NBS said.
According to the report, a quarterly decline was recorded in the number of passengers travelling through Nigerian airports in both the third and final quarters of 2016. Between the second and third quarters, the number also fell by 1.0 per cent, from 3,900,649 to 3,861,25.
However, the report noted that in the final quarter, the fall was more pronounced as the number fell by 5.6 per cent to stand at 3,644,844. The report noted: This contrasts with both 2015, in which the number of passengers increased slightly between the third and fourth quarters. ‚ÄúThe number of passengers increased by 0.9 per cent in 2015 and 2014, in which there was growth of 5.9 per cent in the number of passengers between the same two quarters. ‚ÄúThese totals hide differing trends in the total number of domestic and international passengers.
‚ÄúThe number of domestic passengers fell between the second and third quarters by 6.4 per cent, from 2,864,072 to 2,681,693.‚Äô‚Äô The number of passengers fell again by 1.6 per cent to reach 2,637,975, in the last quarter, the report stated, adding that there was a large spike in international passengers in the third quarter. ‚ÄúThe number increased by 13.8 per cent, from 1,036,577 to 1,179,559, before falling back by 14.6 per cent in the last quarter to reach 1,006,869,‚Äô‚Äô said the report.
Due to the small number of international passengers relative to domestic passengers, the latter had a larger impact on total movements in passenger numbers in the third quarter, the NBS‚Äô report observed. ‚Äú In the fourth quarter this reversed, with the drop in international passenger numbers contributing 4.5 per cent points of the 5.6 per cent drop in total passengers, or roughly 80 per cent. ‚ÄúThis spike in the third quarter for international travel may be part of a seasonal pattern: 2014 and 2015 also recorded spikes in the number of international travellers in the third quarter.‚Äô‚Äô
For the whole of 2016, the performance of the different parts of the Nigerian aviation sector varied, the report further stated, noting that there were large increases in the volume of both cargo and mail, especially in the final quarter. ‚ÄúBy contrast, most airports recorded a decline in the number of aircrafts to land and depart.‚ÄúOutput in the Air Transport Sector, as well as its contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), declined in 2016.‚ÄúDuring the year, several airlines had operational issues, and either cut back on services provided, or stopped operations entirely.‚Äô‚Äô