The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released the Air Transport Data for the first and second quarters of 2018. The report shows that a total of 7,503,408 passengers passed through Nigerian airports in the first half of 2018 showing a 23.9% growth from the 6,054,319 passengers recorded in the same period of 2017.

Passenger Traffic

A total number of 3,845,853 passengers passed through Nigerian airports in the first quarter of 2018 which represents 33.51% year on year growth from Q1 2017 while the number of passengers dropped to 3,657,555 in the second quarter of 2018 representing a decline of 15.24% from the second quarter in 2017. The total number of passengers who passed through the airports declined quarter on quarter by 4.9% in Q2 2018.

Out of the total arrival and departure passengers that passed through the airports in the first half of 2018, only 27.5% (5,433,145 passengers) went through international airports while 72.4% passed through the various domestic airports. 73.4% of the total air traffic passengers passed through both Lagos and Abuja (international and domestic airports) in Q2 2018 which is a decline in their combined market share of 77.9% in Q1 2018 but shows a year on year increase in their combined market share.

Airport Traffic

Murtala Muhammed International Airport remained the busiest airport in Nigeria for both international and local passengers in the first two quarters of 2018. It serves 3,527,851 passengers which represented 48.71% of the total air passengers, during the first half of 2018. A total of 1,478,738 passengers or 41.8% out of the over 3.5 million air passengers that went through Lagos airport in the first half of 2018 were international passengers while 2,059,113 passengers or 58.2% were domestic passengers.

Aside Lagos, the other top five airports in Nigeria in terms of passengers’ traffic in both Q1 and Q2 2018 were Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Owerri in that order. These five airports accounted for over 89.39% of the total passengers in the first two quarters of 2018.

Aircraft Movements

Though, air passengers’ traffic recorded an aggregate increase in both Q1 and Q2 2018, nevertheless, the total number of aircraft movements recorded an aggregate fall of 5.9% during the same quarters. However, improvements in efficiency within the air transportation sector can be attributed to the decline in aircraft movement and increase in number of air passengers.

Meanwhile, the highest number of aircraft traffic in the first two quarters in 2018 was recorded by Abuja airport with 32,011, which is slightly higher than the Lagos Airport that recorded air traffic of 31,037. During both quarters, aircraft movements at the Abuja Airport increased while there was a sharp decline in aircraft movement recorded at the Lagos airport.

Cargo and Mail Movements

The declining cargo movements from previous quarters continued in the second quarter of 2018 as the total cargo movement fell by 31.12% (23,023,291 KG) from the previous quarter of Q4 2017 and also declined by 44.47% on year on year basis. However, cargo movement through Nigerian airports recovered and increased by 25.61% (28,920,555 KG) on quarter on quarter basis, but still fell when compared to Q2 2017 by 31.21%.

Since Lagos remained Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, so, it is not surprising to know that Lagos airport recorded the highest volume of cargo movements in both Q1 and Q2 2018. Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt followed in that order.

According to the report, mail traffic rose to 19,831,650 KG in the first half of 2018, which was 34.2% increase from the traffic recorded in the same first half of 2017. Lagos airport accounted for 94.9% of the total mail movement in both Q1 and Q2 2018; to remain the most important airport for mail movement in during the period under review.

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