The total number of air passengers who travelled through Nigerian airports in 2017 declined by 8.03 percent to 13.4 million, from 14.6 million recorded in 2016.
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed in its Air Transportation Data (Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017) that the fall in traffic was mainly due to the six-week closure of Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport from March 8 to April 17, 2017.
The details show that number of arrivals at 6.69 million was almost equal to departures at 6.7 million.
NBS stated: "Although the number of total air passengers at Nigerian airports dropped in the first quarter steeply due to the closure of Abuja airport in March 2017, the figure bounced back in the second quarter and kept growing since then after Abuja airport was reopened on April 18th, 2017".
The report however noted that in the fourth quarter (Q4'17), air passenger traffic stood at 3.7 million growing by 4.89 percent year-on-year (YoY) despite a decline of 0.56 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ).
NBS also reported a steady growth in Q4'17 in the number of both domestic and international passengers who traveled to or from Nigerian airports by 6.46 percent and 1.01 percent, respectively.
According to the report, arrivals and departures in all Nigerian airports in Q4 were 1.86 million and 1.31 million, with Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Kano airports remained busiest, serving over 92 percent of total passengers in the quarter.
Of the total air passengers in Q4, 71.60 percent or 2.54 million were domestic travelers, while 28.40 percent or 1.01 million were international travelers who entered or left Nigeria, the report added.