The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released global passenger traffic results for January 2019 showing traffic (revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 6.5% compared to January 2018.
This was the fastest growth in six months. January capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) rose 6.4%, and load factor inched up 0.1 percentage point to 79.6%.
January 2019 was also positive for African carriers as traffic rose 5.1%, up from 3.8% in December.
This is just as the NCAA figures of 2018 flight operations showed a growth of about five per cent compared to the 2017 chart.
However, IATA noted that concerns continue about the region's largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria. The region's capacity rose 2.9%, and load factor jumped 1.5 percentage points to 70.9%.
IATA's Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, commenting on the result said, "2019 has started on a positive note, with healthy passenger demand in line with the 10-year trend line."
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that nine domestic airlines operated 59,818 flights while 34 airlines on the international routes operated 15,645 flights from January to December 2018.
The airlines which airlifted 10,092,643 passengers comprising 5,033,669 inbound and 5,058,974 outbound were Air Peace, Arik Air, Dana Air, Azman Air, Aero Contractors, Overland Airways, Max Air, Med-View Airline and FirstNation Airways.
It was seen as a remarkable increase compared to 3,780,576 in-bound passengers and 3, 865, 499 out-bound passengers recorded in the previous year.
Air Peace topped with 22,055 flights with 2,092,325 and 2,111,016 inbound and outbound passengers followed by Arik Air with 15,205 flights.
Others were Dana Air, 5,944 flights; Aero Contractors 4,361 flights; Overland, 2,601 flights; Med-View, 2,058; Max Air, 2,205 and First Nation which has suspended domestic operations did 445 flights in 2018.
From the figures, 36,350 and 5,395 flights were delayed on domestic and international routes respectively.
The flight delays on the domestic route increased compared to 30, 214 recorded in the previous year 2017.
But the figures show a marginal increase on the domestic flights operations compared to 48, 319 flights operated in 2017.
Similarly cancelled flights on the domestic routes dropped from 872 in 2017 to 544, according to the latest Executive Summary (ES) of both International and Domestic Flight Operations released by the authority.
Also, two leading domestic airlines - Air Peace and Arik Air - topped the list of airlines with delayed flights.
On the international routes, Egypt Air led the list as it had 657 delays out of 921 flights operated in the country. Cote D'voire came second with 286 flights delayed out of 516 flights operated.
In the year, a total of 59,818 flights were operated on the domestic routes by nine (9) airlines and 34 airlines operated a total of 15,645 international flights. Within the period 190 cancellations and 544 cancellations were reported.
On inbound flights, 1,994,099 passengers were flown into the country on the international routes while on domestic routes, 5,033,669 passengers were transported. On outbound, 2,084,980 passengers left the country while 5,058,974 travelled locally.
This showed an increase of about five per cent compared to the figures of 1,750,184 inbound and 1,825,358 out-bound passengers recorded in 2017.
"There was a growth of about five per cent in flight operations compared to the figures reported in the previous year. This is definitely a positive development despite that some of our domestic airlines had challenges of fleet depletion," said an NCAA source.
Spokesman of Air Peace Mr. Chris Iwarah assured members of the flying public that the airline, which is expected to start international operations, would bring more smiles to the passengers in 2019.