Air passenger traffic rises by 230%

By The Citizen

The Federal Government on Thursday said domestic air passenger traffic increased in the country last year by 230 per cent.

It said the number of domestic air travellers in the past 12 years rose from 4.4 million to 14.9 million as at the end of 2012.

This, according to the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, is despite the lack of proportionate increase in the capacity of airport terminals across the country.

She spoke in Abuja at the 2013 Ministerial Briefing organised by the Federal Ministry of Information.

'In the past 12 years, passenger traffic at the airports increased from 4.4 million to 14.9 million at the end of 2012, which is an increase of over 230 per cent. However, the capacity of terminal buildings remained constant,' Oduah said.

The minister also stated that 10 foreign carriers operating into Nigeria transported over one million passengers and earned more than $1.5bn (N233bn) in 2012.

This, she said, was one major reason why the Federal Government decided to set up a national carrier that would comfortably compete with international airlines operating in the country.

'In 2012, the top 10 international airlines operating in Nigeria carried over one million passengers and generated more than $1.5bn revenue,' she said.

The minister said the government was working with private investors to establish the national carrier with the aim of creating a regional hub for West Africa in the country.

Oduah observed that the carrier would operate domestic, regional and intercontinental flights, adding that it would complement the existing airlines operating in Nigeria.

She said, 'We expect the national carrier to partner with Africa-focused aircraft leasing businesses. It is expected that this will result in Nigerian passenger numbers exceeding 25 million by 2018 and 30 million by 2032.'