The closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, led to a 28.2 per cent decline in the number of air travellers across Nigerian airports, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, had said.
According to the air transport report figures released by the NBS Thursday, the number of air travellers declined by 983,705, due to the six-week closure of the airport.
The Abuja airport was closed by the Nigerian government on March 8 for repair works to be carried out on its runway and taxiways.
The airport was reopened on April 18 following the completion of the repair work.
According to the NBS , the total number of passengers who passed through Nigerian airports in the first quarter of this year at 2,505,612.
The bureau added that 67.3 per cent were domestic passengers, while the rest were international passengers, entering or leaving Nigeria.
The report noted that, “relative to the previous quarter , there were 983,705 fewer passengers , a fall of 28.2 per cent and relative to the first quarter of 2016 there were 1,165 ,482 fewer, or 29 . 4 per cent less.
“This was largely due to the closure of the Abuja airport from March 8,” it explained.
There were 311, 261 fewer domestic passengers to travel through the Abuja airport relative to the previous quarter, it added.
The bureau noted, however, that the effect on the total number will not be limited to a reduction in passengers travelling through Abuja, as each domestic passenger to leave Abuja would have also counted as an arrival at a different domestic airport, and vice versa.
“Therefore , although all airports saw a reduction in domestic passenger numbers, this is still partly explained by the Abuja airport closure,” it said.
The Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, the report said, recorded the most activity as it accounted for 41.4 per cent of domestic passengers, 76.5 per cent of international passengers, 90.3 per cent of cargo movement and 94.9 per cent of mail movement.
But despite the closure, the Abuja airport remained the second largest domestic airport, and accounted for 499,149 passengers, representing 29.6 per cent of the total, the NBS said.