The Consumer Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has revealed that more Nigerians travelled in 2017 than in 2016, which was the peak of Nigeriaâ€™s economic recession.
Available records showed progressive increase in passenger movement both in the local and international travel with a total increase of about 12 percent during the period under study.
In the third quarter of 2017, about 2.2 million passengers passed through the nationâ€™s airports both in domestic and international travel.
During this period, inbound domestic passengers were 1, 108, 907 on domestic travel, while there were 474, 745 in-bound international passengers and during the period also outbound domestic passengers were 1, 126, 980; while outbound international passengers were 500, 348.
The third quarter also recorded domestic flights of 13, 255 and international flights of 3, 664 and flight delays in the domestic routes were about 8, 173 and similar delays on international flights were 1, 076 with 96 flight cancellations on domestic routes and 38 on international routes.
Also, during the period, domestic airlines recorded 19 air returns, which are flights that returned to base due to technical problems, there were also nine air returns on international flights.
While international flights recorded 8, 660 missing luggage during the period, domestic airlines recorded 26 missing and while the former recovered 7, 070 luggage, domestic airlines recovered 23 luggage.
Compared to 2016, a source from NCAA said there was a total 12 percent increase in passenger movement in 2017 and projects that this may double before the end of the year and passenger movement peaks by December every year.
Director of Consumer Protection Directorate, Adamu Abdullahi said that indications showed that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) pointed out in its outlook for the year2017 that there have been obvious jump in the first and second quarters of the year.
â€œWe have seen certain jump in passenger traffic in Nigeria. You know we faced recession in 2016, which started easing this year; so there is the general believe that we are out of recession. So we have seen improved traffic because even the airlines that reverted to the use of smaller aircraft are now reverting back to their original bigger aircraft sizes. And we have seen Emirates getting ready now to operate out of Abuja and their two flights, frequencies into Lagos daily, is also about to commence,â€ Abdulahi said.
During a recent meeting with Emirates country representative, Afzal Parambil, he expressed optimism that the airline would resume is Abuja flights and its second Lagos daily flights.
Also feelers from other international carriers like Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Ethiopia Airlines showed that since the beginning of this year, there has been progressive increase in the number of travellers that book flights with the aforementioned airlines.
The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA), Bankole Bernard who acknowledged that recession has eased in 2017 and noted that there is boost in passenger movement, but he added that despite the growth in passenger movement, there is yet discernible changes as occasioned by the end of recession.
â€œI havenâ€™t seen changes and changes wonâ€™t happen so soon. That we are out of recession there are economic indices that show signs that we are out of recession, it does not mean that it will impact on the lives of the common man immediately. We have just crossed that border line that we are no longer in recession, now we are back on the part of growth, it does not mean that we have started growing, we are just on the part of growth. We were declining before, now the arrow has turned up,â€ Bernard said.