Numbers reeled out by the National Bureau of statistics (NBS) has shown an increase of both aircraft movement in the fourth quarter of 2015, with aircraft moving in and out of Nigerian airports increasing to 61,692 approximately 6.9%.
This figure when juxtaposed with the third quarter of 2015, which had 57,704 of aircraft movement showed a clear over 3,988 difference a decrease of 1.1% in relative to second quarter of the same year under review.
These data compiled by the bureau May 1, 2016, indicate that the upsurge in aircraft movement in the fourth quarter of last year was as a result of the festive period; Christmas and New Year celebrations in that period.
However, the bureau in its statistical analysis hinted that aircraft movement in the third quarter of 2015 reduced by 10.3 per cent when compared with third quarter of 2014 while the fourth quarter of 2015 represented 13.6 per cent decline when compared with the same period of 2014.
The bureau added, “These declines were both larger than the corresponding year-on-year declines in passenger numbers, indicating that passengers per flight increased over this period.
In contrast with the number of passengers, the year-on-year fall in the number of domestic flights was larger than the fall in the number of international flights.
“In the third and fourth quarters of 2015, there were 11.3 per cent and 14.3 per cent fewer domestic flights than in the same quarter of 2014 respectively, which resulted in a total of 46,157 and 50,686 flights in the third and fourth quarter.”
NBS added that the year-on-year declines in the number of international flights were 3.3 per cent and 10.5 per cent in the third and fourth quarter of 2015 respectively, which resulted in a total of 11,547 international flights in third quarter of 2015 and 11,006 in the fourth.
The Bureau also explained that there was a large quarterly increase in domestic flights in the fourth quarter of 2015 (of 9.8 per cent) international flights saw a decline of 541 flights, or 4.7 per cent, reversing the increase of 344 flights (3.1 per cent) recorded in the third quarter.
The difference between the number of domestic and international aircraft to pass through Nigeria airports tended to be smaller than the difference between the number of domestic and international passengers, reflecting the fact that international aircraft tended to be larger, and therefore carried more passengers.
Also, the shares of domestic flights accounted for by each airport were similar to the shares of passengers accounted for by each airport.
For instance, the Lagos Airport accounted for the largest share of domestic flights in each quarter considered, accounting for 37.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2015 and 35.6 per cent in the fourth, compared with domestic passenger shares of 37 per cent and 36.1 per cent respectively.
Similarly, Abuja Domestic Airport accounted for 32 per cent and 33.8 per cent of domestic flights in the third and fourth quarter, compared to passenger shares of 34.7 per cent and 33.8 per cent.
On the international scene, the international wing of Lagos Airport accounted slightly lower share of international aircraft than of international passengers.
Its share was 67.1 per cent in the third quarter and 69.8 per cent in the fourth, compared with shares of 67.4 per cent and 71.1 per cent for international passengers in the same quarters.
Despite this, the airport still remained by far the largest international airport, recording almost four times as many international flights went through MMA than went through Abuja airport, which accounted for the second largest number of international flights, and accounted for 20.2 per cent of international passengers in third quarter of 2015 and 17.6 per cent in the fourth.
As with MMA, these shares were slight lower than the respective shares of international passengers of 23.1 per cent and 20.5 per cent.
This indicated that the international flights to pass through these airports tended to carry slightly more passengers the average for all airports.
In a related development, the Bureau has indicated that the Murtala Muhammed Airport has the most cargo movement in the fourth quarter of 2015 recording 12.8 per cent increase in cargo movement when compared to the third quarter of 2015.
The NBS, also recorded a total of 89.5 per cent of cargo movements across the country in the last quarter of 2015 stating that whereas the third quarter of 2015 saw a year on year decline of 13.9 per cent, the fourth quarter saw a year on year increase of 12.8 for the airport.
The bureau said that the third quarter of 2015 saw a quarterly increase in the weight of cargo to pass through Nigerian airports of 724,792Kg or 1.8 per cent, to reach 41,636,713kg.
NBS added that this was followed by a larger quarterly increase of 6,169,663kg (14.8 per cent) in the fourth quarter, to reach 47,805,737kg.
This, it said, contrasted the previous year result in which there was a decline in the weight of cargo movement between the third and fourth quarter.
The bulk of the weight of cargo to move through Nigerian Airports it declared went through MMA in Lagos in the second half of 2015.
The data added, “This airport accounted for 91 per cent and 88.2 per cent of the weight in the third and fourth quarters; the decline in the share between these two periods is in spite of an increase in the weight of cargo to move through MMA of 14.8 per cent.
“The decline was mainly the result of a large increase in the weight of cargo to pass through Kano Airport between these periods. Whereas in the third quarter of 2015 the weight of cargo to pass through Kano was 1,681,772kg, this rose by 2,474,862kg (147.2 per cent) to 4,156,634kg in the fourth quarter.
“As a result, Kano significantly increased its share of cargo between the fourth quarters of 2014 and 2015, from 3.3 per cent to 7.7 per cent. Port Harcourt also saw an increase over this period, from 2 per cent to 2.7 per cent, as despite a year on year decrease in the weight of cargo moved of 4.6 per cent, this decrease was considerably less than for Abuja (16.3 per cent) or Calabar (44.4 per cent).”