700,000 fewer passengers used Lagos airports in Q1 2021
…officials record 1m in 3months as against pre-lockdown 1.7m
Even though Nigeria has fully re- opened its economy, business activities in its busiest airports are below pre-lockdown levels as 700,000 fewer passengers travelled through its Lagos corridor in the first three months of 2021.
A little above 1million passengers were processed through the Murtala Muhammed international and Domestic Airports in Lagos by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) between January and March this year.
That is 41.18 percent less than the 1.7 million recorded by FAAN in the corresponding quarter of 2020, before the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
Data obtained from FAAN shows that in the first quarter of 2020, Lagos domestic airport processed 1,048,465 passengers for both arrival and departure and processed 665,071 arriving and departing passengers at the international wing. This sum up to about 1.7 million passengers.
Its current data shows a total of 323,751 passengers were processed at the international airport in Q1 2021. Out of which 149,557 were recorded as arrivals while 174,194 passengers departed through the wing in the first three months to March 2021.
At the domestic wing, 402,519 were recorded at the arrival while departure recorded 337,041 bringing the total number of passengers on the domestic routes to 739,560 between January and March.
A total of 17, 286 aircraft were recorded at the airport during the first quarter of the year with records showing domestic aircraft movements at 12,744 while international aircraft movement was 4,542.
Domestic flights resumed in Nigeria on July 8 2020 after about three months of restrictions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, Africa’s largest economy reopened its international passenger flights.tens of thousands of jobs were lost in the aviation industry with ripple effects on other industries.
Commenting on the Q1 2021 statistics, the airport manager South West, Victoria Shin-aba said Lagos remained the business nerve centre of the country as most flights terminate at the airport, adding, that there was a gradual reawakening from the Covid even with the second wave not discouraging passengers from travelling. “It is like a gradual reawakening, a gradual restart away from the Covid issue, there came the second wave but that did not discourage people from travelling so, it is growing gradually.”
On Covid protocols, the airport manager said: “I always tell people that if there is one thing the airport has been able to do,” is the active COVID- 19 protocol being observed whenever anyone enters the airport.
“You can get to town, you don’t see people obeying it but as soon as you get to the airport, we enforce it, people would not want to cooperate but we are enforcing it both for staff and passengers,” and people are cooperating.
Explaining the airport protocol, Shin-aba said if a person is not wearing a nose mask, for example, he or she won’t be allowed entrance into the terminal building and if it happens the person gets access to the terminal building and eventually remove the mask, there are task force going around and enforcing and correcting people to ensure they are mask up. There has been a lot of cooperation from the passengers as well as other airport users, she said.
She however noted with displeasure the number of family members escorting their travelling passenger to the airport
“We have been having some challenges along that area, you know our culturethe way we do things, one person is travelling, ten people will follow but we still try as much as possible to discourage people.”
The airport manager said that the challenge they were having with VIP’S parking indiscriminately at the departure area has reduced as there was a task force in place consisting of other security agencies that advise them to move down.
Shin-aba revealed that there were a lot of security arrangements, layers of security both at the landside and airside put in place with the regular meeting of the security committee.