Passenger traffic on the Nigeria domestic route increased by 24.2 per cent from January to December 2018 when compared to the same period in 2017.
The figures released by the Consumer Protection Directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
The document showed that nine domestic airlines operated in the country in 2018 compared to eight airlines which were in operations during the previous year.
The airlines include Air Peace, Arik Air, Dana Air, Azman Air, Aero Contractors, Overland Airways, Max Air, Medview Airline and FirstNation Airways.
According to the document, the domestic airlines carried a total of 10,092,643 passengers in 2018 compared to the 7,646,600 recorded in 2017.
Similarly, the number of flights operated by the airlines also increased by 19.2 per cent as they were able to operate 59,818 flights in 2018 compared to the 48,319 flights in 2017.
Air Peace topped the performance chart with 22,055 flights and 4,203,341 passengers, representing 41.65 per cent of the total market share.
It was followed by Arik Air with 15,205 flights and 2,572,079 passengers (25.48 per cent) as well as Dana Air with 5,944 flights and 998,972 passengers (9.90 per cent).
Azman Air operated 4,944 flights with 825,816 passengers (8.18 per cent), Aero Contractors had 4,361 flights with 558,022 passengers (5.53 per cent) and Medview Airline had 2,058 flights with 366,605 passengers (3.63 per cent).
Others were Max Air with 2,205 flights and 311,923 passengers (3.09 per cent ), Overland Airways with 2,601 flights and 196,145 passengers (1.94 per cent) and FirstNation Airways with 445 flights and 59,740 passengers (0. 60 per cent).
Commenting on the development, Chris Iwarah, Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, said the airline was working towards consolidating on its achievements in 2019.
He said: “We are expanding our routes so that people have more options. Areas people don’t normally will not go to, this year, we are planning to go there.
“In 2018, we opened many routes both regional and domestic.
“They included Asaba, Yola and Kano; we have also expanded our operations to the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 to meet the demands of our customers,’’ he said.
Also, Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director, Aero Contractors Ltd., appealed to the Federal Government to look inwards into the aviation industry to make sure that it is put on the front burner.
Sanusi said this would enable Nigeria to reap from the benefits of aviation in the economy.
He said: “You can see what the aviation industry has done to the economy of many countries.
“You can look at what RwandAir is doing to the Rwandan economy and you can look at Emirates Airlines and see what it has done to the economy of the United Arab Emirates.
“So, you can see what airlines are doing for the economies of their countries and I believe that the federal government should look inwards that developing aviation is key to the success of the economy,’’ Sanusi said.