Ethiopian Airlines ferried 416,229 passengers between Nigeria and Addis Ababa to emerge the foreign carrier with the highest number of traffic in 2017 in the country.
The airline, which remains the only carrier that operates from five points in Nigeria: Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Kano, and Kaduna, had 202,452 inbound passengers while the outbound passengers were 213,777 in the past year.
There were 30 international carriers that operated from the five international gateways in Nigeria and Kaduna in 2017.
A report obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by Sahara Reporters indicated that British Airways emerged the second biggest carrier out of the country with 275,233 passengers. British Airways had 144,452 inbound passengers and 139,374 outbound passengers.
The investigation revealed that the 2017 passenger traffic declined by 23.4 percent when compared with 2016.
The total passenger traffic for 2017 was 11,221,617 as against 15,232,597 in 2016. The investigation revealed that the massive passenger traffic declined was due to the economic recession, which collapsed the country in 2016 and major part of 2017.
Another foreign carrier with high figure of passengers in the preceding year was Air France, which ferried 254,290; 125,436 and 128,854 as inbound and outbound passengers respectively.
Also, Lufthansa had 245,151 as outbound and inbound passengers while the leading Middle East carrier, Emirates airlifted 242,033 passengers within the period. Emirates had recommenced two weekly flights to Lagos and resumed flights to Abuja on December 15, 2017. The frequencies it abandoned in the wake of the recession and scarcity of foreign exchange, which affected operations of many foreign carriers.
Closely following Emirates in terms of passenger traffic in 2017 according to the report was another Middle East carrier, Turkish Airlines, which airlifted 219,551 passengers in and out of Nigeria in 2017.
Also, the second British carrier operating direct flight into Nigeria, Virgin Atlantic Airways airlifted 185,994 passengers, KLM Airlines; 185,999, Qatar Airways; 170,159, Egypt Air; 151,018, South African Airways; 140,273, Asky Airways; 119,154, African World Airlines; 112,542 Rwandair; 108,256 and Kenya Airways airlifted 93,307 passengers within the period.
Besides, Virgin Atlantic Airways from the United Kingdom also ferried 185,994 passengers, KLM Airlines; 185,999, Qatar Airways; 170,159, Egypt Air; 151,018, South African Airways; 140,273, Asky Airways; 119,154, African World Airlines; 112,542 Rwandair; 108,256 and Kenya Airways airlifted 93,307 passengers within the period.
The only American carrier operating direct flights between Nigeria and United States, Delta Air Lines had 93,244 passengers within the period while Royal Air Maroc airlifted 88,015.
Another Middle East, which made a strong statement on the Nigerian route in the past year, was Etihad Airways, which carried 84,984 passengers within the period.
The first Nigerian carrier with high passenger traffic on the international route was Med-View, which emerged the 19th airline with passenger traffic in 2017 out of 30 airlines on the international route.
Med-View transported 72,175 passengers while the troubled carrier, Arik Air had 67,270 passengers; Air Cote D’Ivoire; 59,059; Saudi Air, 56,115, Air Peace; 31,551, Middle East; 27,295, Max Air; 18,830, Sudan Air; 14,053, Meridiana Air; 13,839, Mid Air Africa; 5,050, Cronos Air; 4,858 and Azman Air airlifted 2,003 passengers within the period.
But, another airline, which appeared on the list of international carriers without a single passenger within the period, was the Cameroonian Airline, Camair-Co. It was gathered that the airline didn’t fly into Nigeria in the past year despite having some slots reserved for it.
In the domestic scene, Air Peace remains the airline with the highest volume of passengers among the eight local carriers with 2,604,963, which represented 34.06 percent of the total local market share in 2017.
Despite its troubles, Arik Air emerged second with highest passenger traffic with 1,430,170, Dana Air; 1,194,004, Med-View Airline; 985,483 and Azman Air with 689,233.
Others are Aero Contractors; 409,018, FirstNation Airways operating just one aircraft since late 2016 airlifted 189,155 passengers while Overland Airways came last with 144,049 passengers within the year under review.