Drawing on data provided by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest report on air passenger traffic. The report estimates total traffic in Q1 2017 at 2.5 million passengers, representing decreases of 31% q/q and 35% y/y. Household pockets continue to be squeezed due to the lingering macro challenges; as such weaker demand for air travel is not surprising.
Domestic air traffic fell by -32% q/q in Q1 and accounted for 67% of the total. This was partly due to the Abuja airport closure that lasted for six weeks in Q1; compared with the previous quarter, there were 311, 261 fewer domestic passengers that travelled through Abuja.
Although passengers were temporarily diverted to Kaduna airport, some regular fliers opted to stay put until the Abuja airport was re-opened. Airport traffic through Kaduna declined by -56% q/q. It is worth pointing out some statistical glitches in the series: the NBS did not receive the complete data set for a few airports (including Kaduna).
Despite the closure, Abuja airport remained the second largest domestic airport. It accounted for 29.6% of total domestic air traffic.
There was also a drop in international air passenger traffic, although not as steep as that of domestic passenger traffic. It declined by -18% q/q. The Lagos international airport recorded the highest number of passengers (627,406) in Q1.
Sources: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Research
The CBN’s fx interventions kicked off in February and the impact on fx liquidity became pronounced in early Q2. This most likely had a positive impact on airport traffic data for Q2.
Despite the decline in air passenger traffic, the national accounts for Q1 show that air transport expanded by 1.5% y/y. However it represented just 7.3% of total transportation.