The aviation industry has recorded an upsurge in passenger traffic, with no fewer than 18 million passengers now travelling the Nigerian airspace in a year.The surge, compared with the 2017 figures, represents about 11 per cent increase in passenger traffic.
Similarly, the marginal growth trend continued in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, with no fewer than 3.5 million passengers travelling through the airports.
The Q1 report released by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), showed an increase of 76,397 passengers and 2.23 per cent growth compared to the 3.43 million passengers recorded in the first quarter of 2018.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at a recent meeting with stakeholders in Lagos, said despite the problem of funding, the industry recorded marginal growth of 33 per cent rise in local passenger traffic and 11 per cent in international travels.
Both segments bring the total yearly traffic to 18 million passengers a year.
The industry’s contributions to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have improved some notches from 0.4 to 0.6 per cent as at last year.
Sirika said: “It was very difficult achieving all these because we went through very challenging times. The income of government has lessened; so you sometimes see aviation having about 11 per cent fund release. It is only magic that could make you do some of these things (projects).
“The major and number one challenge is the source of funding. I’m sure airlines like Air Peace, Dana and others would want to be the best airline on earth, but they cannot because there is no funding available. Yet, you cannot complete with those that have 120 aircraft fleet, and all their airplanes within the age bracket of five years,” he said.