The nation’s aviation sector is recovering from the shock of COVID-19 pandemic as passenger traffic has been on the rise.
Drawing on data provided by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest report on air passenger traffic.
The report, which estimated total traffic in Q2 ‘21 at 3.2 million passengers, represented an increase of 9 per cent quarter-by-quarter and 72 per cent year-on-year in passenger traffic.
However, the report argued that despite the year-on-year increase in passenger traffic, the aviation sector was still recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as overall passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic levels.
Based on the national accounts, Nigeria’s air transport segment grew by 4.9 per cent y/y in Q2 ‘21 compared with a contraction of -11.8 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. The reopening of airports and the reinstatement of flights, following the ease in movement restrictions and positive base effects contributed to the uptick in the segment’s growth rate.
For Q2 ‘21, passenger traffic on departures accounted for 50 per cent of total domestic air travel and 51 per cent of total international air travel. According to the report, 86 per cent of total air passengers in Q2 ‘21 were domestic travellers, pointing to a 9 per cent q/q increase.
Passenger traffic in the Lagos domestic airport increased by 13 per cent q/q to 861,320 passengers. As for Abuja, there was a 9 per cent q/q increase to one million passengers in Q2 ‘21.
The Abuja airport accounted for the largest share (37%) of total domestic passengers during the quarter under review. While Lagos and Port Harcourt accounted for 31 per cent and 7 per cent of total passenger traffic (domestic) respectively.
As for international travel, air passenger traffic grew by 4 per cent q/q and 2179 per cent y/y. We suspect the growth mirrors the lifting of international travel restrictions and the roll out of vaccines globally.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global international air travel will continue to recover in 2022.
However, low vaccination rates in Africa may remain one of the key obstacles to quicker air travel rebound.