The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has stated that a total of 15,225,627 travellers passed through Nigeria’s airports in 2021.
This was an increase of 101.02 per cent in domestic and international travel when compared to 2020.
The data released by the NBS yesterday, stated that the figures were provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and verified and validated by the bureau.
The details showed that the total number of international passengers who passed through Nigerian airports was 2,219,146, as against 1,408,026 passengers in 2020.
This represented 57.61 per cent growth rate, while 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 also represented a 43.41 per cent growth rate.
Furthermore, the data showed that the number of arrivals in 2021 stood at 6,533,740, which was higher compared to 4,870,072 in 2020.
On the other hand, 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. This represented 57.61 per cent growth rate. Similarly, 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 data showed that Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Owerri recorded the highest rate of traffic, while Katsina, Kaduna, Ibadan and Jos recorded the lowest traffic.
A total of 4,758,843 passengers passed through the domestic terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while 4,093,712 passengers passed through the domestic terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. The domestic terminals of Port Harcourt International Airport had 900,728 passengers, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (545,749) and Akanu Ibiam International Airport (508,513).
Others were Owerri (583,464) Benin Airport (433,017) Margaret Ekpo Airport (197,998) Yola (175,699) Maiduguri (197,898), Ilorin (148,109) Akure (113,625), Sokoto (137,511) Kaduna (73,110), Jos (57,020), Ibadan (51,172) and Katsina (30,313).
For foreign travel, Lagos recorded the highest traffic, with 1,595,522 passengers, while Abuja came second with 565,062 passengers. Port Harcourt had 14,519 passengers, while Kano had 39,441, Enugu had 4,532 and Maiduguri had 68.
Reacting to the significant increase in passenger traffic in 2021, the President of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye said while COVID-19 initially stopped many people from traveling after the lockdown, it was also the major factor that made more people to travel later, as people who were locked down were eager to travel on business and pleasure.
“COVID-19 was a factor that brought down the passenger traffic in 2020 but it is also the reason it went up in 2021. COVID-19 protocol introduced by countries restricted many people from travelling because it was costly and inconveniencing but immediately countries began to lift COVID-19 protocol there was a surge in passenger traffic; people started travelling.
“Doing those tests was not funny, since you would spend almost the same amount you paid for airfare on tests. So that’s why there is increase in air travel,” she said.
Also the Regional Manager, South West in charge of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba told THISDAY that due to the lockdown in 2020, there was a record of low passenger throughput because people did not travel as much when the airports were reopened in September, 2020 but in 2021 more people travelled with the removal of COVID-19 restrictions, adding that there was increase in the number of people on international destinations because “a lot of people are leaving the country.”