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International Travels: Murtala Muhammed International Airport had 670,936 Passengers in Six Months

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A report by the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) has revealed that Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos recorded the highest number of international travellers with 670, 936 passengers in six months.

According to the Passenger’ Traffic Statistics Report, a total of 6, 420, 800 passengers travelled through International and domestic airports in the country between January and June 2021.

The report prepared by FAAN indicated that 5, 513, 098 represented the number of passengers that travelled to domestic destinations. While 907,722 was the figure for passengers that travelled to International destinations.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport is followed by Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja on the list of airports passengers patronise more for International travels. NAIA, within the period under review, had 225,985 travellers. NAIA was also first in domestic travels with 1,974,249 passengers. For domestic travels, Murtala Muhammed Airport had 1,786,236 passengers.

In the report, the airports in Lagos and Abuja accounted for 68.2 per cent of domestic arrivals and departures. Similarly, both airports accounted for 98.8 per cent of all international passengers. Consequently, the third on the list of international travel is Amino Kano International Airport with 10,119 International passengers.

The total number of both domestic and international travels is 50.5 per cent more than that recorded in the first six months of 2020. This may not be unconnected to the impart of 2020 COVID 19 and the lockdown that followed.

Furthermore, the report also stated that Murtala International Airport in Lagos alone accounted for 113.9 million kilogrammes of cargo representing a total of over 90 per cent of the total cargo handled at five International airports. The five International Airports include those in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano and Enugu all of which handled a combined total of 126.4 million kilogrammes of cargo.

The 126.4 represents a 106 per cent increase in cargo in the same period in 2020. In the same period in 2020, only 61.2 million was recorded.

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US, UK, EU Nations, Israel, Others Restrict Travel From South Africa

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The United States has joined the United Kingdom, Israel, European Nations and a host of others to restrict flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi starting from Monday.

US Senior officials announced on Friday, saying the restriction was recommended by Joe Biden’s chief medical officer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the restriction does not apply to US citizens or permanent residents.

The decision was after reports of a fast-spreading new covid variant called B.1.1.529 hits headline on Thursday, raising concerns it could spread across the world if nothing is done fast. On Friday, Hong Kong reported two cases of the virus while Belgium confirmed one case in a traveler from Egypt.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated the heavily mutated coronavirus strain ‘a variant of concern’.

WHO said the new COVID variant would be given the name Omicron after data examined by its officials showed exponential growth in cases of the B.1.1.529 Sars-Cov-2 variant.

The news plunged global financial markets, with stocks falling to their lowest in more than a year. The Standard and Poor 500 dropped 2.3 percent while Europe’s Stoxx 600 sheds 3.7 percent and the MSCI Asia-Pacific index dipped by 1.7 percent.

Crude oil dropped over $10 or more than 5 percent to $72 a barrel. Even gold, a known haven commodity, pulled back, losing its earlier gains.

“What should have been a quiet Friday trading in both bonds and equities globally has turned into a rout,” said Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at NatAlliance Securities.

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Ibom Air in Talks to Acquire 10 Airbus A220 Jets

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The management of Ibom Air, an Akwa Ibom State Government-owned Airline in Nigeria, is in talks to acquire at least ten A220 jets from Airbus, a European plane manufacturer.

Ibom Air delegates to Dubai Airshow said on Sunday.

A source familiar with the deal said it could extend to 20 aircraft.

The airline commenced operations on June 7 2019 when a Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft marked Ibom Air took off from Victor Attah International Airport (IATA: QUO), Uyo, with government officials on board, en route to Muritala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. Akwa Ibom is the first state in the country to own an airline.

In May 2021, the Airline also signed Nigeria’s first domestic codeshare agreement with Dana Air. Dana Air COO Obi Mbanuzuo said the agreement is “the first of its kind for domestic airlines in Nigeria”.

Mr Mbanuzuo added: “We do hope that this partnership… will set a positive precedent for the greater good of the industry”

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Air Passenger Traffic Rises by 9 Percent in Q2, 2021

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Drawing on data provided by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released its latest report on air passenger traffic. The report estimates total traffic in Q2 ‘21 at 3.2 million passengers, representing an increase of 9% q/q and 72% y/y.

However, despite this impressive year-on-year increase, the aviation sector is still recovering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic as overall passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic levels.

Based on the national accounts, Nigeria’s air transport segment grew by 4.9% y/y in Q2 ‘21 compared with a contraction of -11.8% recorded in the previous quarter. The reopening of airports and the reinstatement of flights, following the ease in movement restrictions and positive base effects contributed to the uptick in the segment’s growth rate.

For Q2 ‘21, passenger traffic on departures accounted for 50% of total domestic air travel and 51% of total international air travel. According to the report, 86% of total air passengers in Q2 ‘21 were domestic travellers, pointing to a 9% q/q increase.

Passenger traffic in the Lagos domestic airport increased by 13% q/q to 861,320 passengers. As for Abuja, there was a 9% q/q increase to 1 million passengers in Q2 ‘21. The Abuja airport accounted for the largest share (37%) of total domestic passengers during the quarter under review. While Lagos and Port Harcourt accounted for 31% and 7% of total passenger traffic (domestic) respectively.

As for international travel, air passenger traffic grew by 4% q/q and 2179% y/y. We suspect the growth mirrors the lifting of international travel restrictions and the rollout of vaccines globally.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global international air travel will continue to recover in 2022. However, low vaccination rates in Africa may remain one of the key obstacles to quicker air travel rebound.

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