The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) recorded over 12 million passenger movements and 234,235 aircraft movements in 2011.
The busiest airport was the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, which from January to October last year recorded 3, 257, 738 passengers on domestic flights and 2, 237, 991 international flight passengers within the same period.
On aircraft movement in the first 10 months of last year, Murtala Muhammed Airport recorded 65,014 domestic aircraft movement and 24, 745 international aircraft movement.
Compared to the population of Nigeria, aviation experts see this as a very insignificant percentage of over 160 million people, but a growth record, which indicates that there is growing passenger movement on domestic destinations.
Industry operator and managing director of Belujane Konsult, Chris Aligbe, said that there are major factors that inhibit the growth of passenger movement, adding that one is the economic situation in Nigeria which is the consequence of the standard of living of Nigerians.
According to Aligbe, more Nigerians would have been travelling by air if they can afford the fares so the airlines must have to make the fares right.
"Available fares are not right because people cannot alternate it with driving by road. The middle class has been wiped out and it is that class that propels any nation's economy. If the economy improves and with the agenda being put in place by the Federal Government, there may be development of the middle class, while the low class income may also rise, which will eventually lead to the rise of the market," Aligbe noted.
Compared to past figures, there is discernible growth in both the passenger movement and aircraft movement and this is largely attributable to the fact that more Nigerians travel by air.
Another factor responsible for the growth is that more foreign airlines have started flying into the country, which includes Rwanda Air, Etihad and United Airlines in the last three four months.
To boost the air transport market, Aligbe suggested that airlines should be serious about marketing and the sensitization of the public; then they should solve their internal challenges and bring down the fares to enable more Nigerians to travel by air instead of other means of transport.
He also noted that the existing number of air travelers would further be depleted if other means of transport like the railway becomes well developed.