Despite Recession, Airlines Sold N330bn Tickets in 2016
Despite the economic downturn, which has eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians, air travel still recorded ticket sales of N330,548,324,796.84 from January to October 2016, a little less than N385,909,897,028. 80 sold between January to December in 2015.
It is however projected that the total number of ticket sales last year would surpass that of the previous year due to the high December season not yet reflected in the data provided by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Also, between January and September 2016, airlines airlifted 11,344, 936 passengers.
This is slightly lower than the passenger movement in 2015, which stood at 11,402,899 during the period.
However, passenger movement figures in 2015 and 2016 were lower than the pre-recession era when total inbound and outbound passenger movements rose to 15 million in 2014.
The 2014 figure was attributed to flourishing economy growth after the rebasing of the economy, which made the country an attractive investment destination.
Addressing newsmen in Lagos yesterday, the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman explained that in 2015, domestic airlines airlifted 8,130,568 passengers with 202,352 flights during the period, while foreign airlift stood at 3,272,331 with 31,493 flights. The total number of flights for that year was put at 233,845.
In 2016, domestic airlines airlifted 8,090,816 passengers with 130,745 flights, while the number of passengers on international air travel was put at 3,272,331 with 33,099 flights. The total number of flights was put at 163,844, a significant drop from 2015 arising from fewer local flights in 2016.
Usman said between 2014 and 2015, Nigeria recorded zero accidents and there was no major incident, with 2016 identified as the best year in the area of safety records.
The Director-General identified the challenges faced by airlines last year, which might still prevail in the larger part of this year, as the contraction in the economy, paucity of foreign exchange, the inability of foreign airlines to repatriate funds, and the scarcity of aviation fuel.
He said NCAA recorded major milestones during the period, including the audit carried out by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA), the election of Usman as the chairman of the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organisation (BAGASOO), and the appointment of four Nigerians as International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) certified security auditors.
Usman said NCAA has commenced the aerodrome certification of the Lagos and Abuja airports, the completion of phase three of the aerodrome certification programme, certification of air navigation service providers (the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA), and the audit of aerodromes and heliports in the country.
He also disclosed that the regulatory authority has automated its personnel licences and was successful in the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), adding that in the area of consumer protection, NCAA received 7,281 complaints from passengers on foreign airlines in 2015 and of these, 4,343 were processed and resolved.
“In 2016, 2,236 complaints were received and 1,792 were resolved,” Usman said.
The Director-General also noted that the non-availability of aviation fuel continues to linger, “there are also weather related operational hiccups, increase in delays and cancellations, and increase in complaints from domestic passengers”.