By Steve Agbota
Domestic and international travels to Lagos have declined substantially following 53 per cent passenger cut by Arik Air for the rest of 2017.
According to an analysis of top 10 international airports in Africa by Forward Keys, in the coming five months from August to December 2017, there will be 16 per cent fewer airline seats on domestic routes and 9 per cent fewer seats on international routes to and from Lagos.
Managing Director of AviaDev, Africa’s leading airline route development conference, Jon Howell, said, “one of the major reasons for falling arrivals by air to Nigeria is the fact that many airlines could not repatriate funds after the currency crisis in 2016. As a result, Iberia and United Airlines have ceased operations to Nigeria, while Emirates and other foreign carriers have scaled back services. The Nigerian airlines have suffered too and so this void has been filled by the ever-opportunistic Ethiopian Airlines, which began serving its fifth Nigerian destination, Kaduna, on August 1, 2017 and is now the largest carrier in the Nigerian market.”
The report indicates that most of the other airports in Africa’s top 10 are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than domestic. However, the most notable exception to this trend is Nairobi, which is seeing a 22 per cent boost in domestic capacity.
Also, CEO, ForwardKeys, Olivier Jager, said, “the growth in air travel to Africa is impressive. However, it is notable that consumer demand and airline investment is greater in travel to African countries from outside the continent than it is between African countries.”
The document obtained by Daily Sun, noted that these findings are part of a wider report on travel to Africa produced by ForwardKeys, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day.
“It shows double-digit growth in flight arrivals for the first half of this year and little indication that the pace of growth will slow down soon. The wider report will make encouraging reading for airlines, governments and hoteliers planning to discuss possible new aviation routes at AviaDev in Kigali in October,” it said.
The report reveals that in the first seven months of the year, January 1–July 31, 2017, total international flight arrivals grew by 14 per cent over the same period in 2016.
Most significantly, growth was stronger for travel to and from the continent than within the continent. Arrivals from Europe, which make up 46 per cent of the market, were up 13.2 per cent. From the Americas, arrivals were up 17.6 per cent; from the Middle East,
they were up 14 per cent and from Asia Pacific, they were up 18.4 per cent. By comparison, intra-African air travel, which makes up 26 per cent of the market, was up 12.6 per cent, the document said.
“Looking at Africa’s top 10 destination countries, there have been standout performances from Tunisia and Egypt, which are recovering from notorious terrorist attacks two years ago, up 33.5 per cent and 24.8 per cent respectively. In addition, Morocco and Tunisia received a huge boost in arrivals from China, up 450 per cent and 250 per cent respectively, after they relaxed visa restrictions.”