A Decade of Domestic Airlines Passenger Traffic in Nigeria: 2024 Outlook, Patterns and Projections

by | Dec 6, 2023 | 0 comments

Economic Overview of Nigeria’s Domestic Airline Industry in 2024

The past decade has been a rollercoaster for Nigeria’s domestic airline industry, with ups and downs influenced by various economic and global factors. As we move into 2024, careful consideration of economic indicators, government policies, insecurity, and global events will be essential for stakeholders in the aviation sector. By staying vigilant and adapting to the dynamic environment, Nigeria’s domestic airline industry can navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities for sustainable growth in the years to come. This article explores the trends observed in domestic passenger traffic in Nigeria from 2013 to 2022, providing insights into the fluctuations and forecasting potential future developments.

Data Analytics

The total domestic airline passenger traffic in Nigeria has experienced fluctuations over the years. In 2013, the industry recorded 10,074,528 passengers, and this number increased steadily until 2018, reaching a peak of 12,031,336 passengers. However, 2019 marked a slight dip with 12,949,464 passengers, and the industry faced a significant setback in 2020 with only 7,721,114 passengers—a consequence of the global pandemic.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the industry rebounded in 2021, recording 13,339,634 passengers, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels. However, the figures for 2022 show a decline to 9,480,820.57 passengers, raising questions about the factors influencing this downward trend.

For “Total Domestic Passengers” and “GDP per Capita (US $),” the Pearson correlation coefficient is 0.117.

The Pearson correlation coefficient ranges from -1 to 1. A value of 1 indicates a perfect positive linear relationship, -1 indicates a perfect negative linear relationship, and 0 indicates no linear relationship.

In this case, the correlation coefficient is close to 0.117, suggesting a very weak positive correlation between the total domestic passengers and GDP per capita.

The significance level, often denoted as “Sig. (2-tailed),” is 0.748.

The significance level indicates the probability of observing a correlation as extreme as the one computed, assuming that there is no actual correlation in the population.

In this case, a significance level of 0.748 is relatively high, suggesting that the correlation observed could be due to random chance. Typically, a significance level below 0.05 is considered statistically significant.

Sample Size (N):

The sample size for both variables is 10.

The weak positive correlation coefficient (0.117) indicates a slight tendency for total domestic passengers and GDP per capita to move in the same direction. However, the relatively high significance level (0.748) suggests that this correlation may not be statistically significant, and the observed relationship could be due to chance rather than a genuine association.

In practical terms, this means that, based on the data provided, there is limited evidence to conclude that there is a significant linear relationship between total domestic passengers and GDP per capita in the given context. It’s crucial to consider additional factors and conduct further analysis to draw more robust conclusions about the relationship between these two variables.

Several factors contribute to the fluctuations in domestic airline passenger traffic in Nigeria. Economic conditions, government policies, insecurity, aviation fuel prices, and global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic all play a role in shaping the industry’s performance.

The data reveals fluctuating trends in domestic passenger traffic over the years. In 2013, the total number of domestic passengers stood at 10,074,528, and this figure experienced a steady increase until it reached its peak in 2019 at 12,949,464 passengers. However, a significant drop was witnessed in 2020, when the number plummeted to 7,721,114 due to the global pandemic’s unprecedented impact on the aviation industry. The sector faced operational challenges, travel restrictions, and a decline in passenger confidence.

The year 2020 stands out as a turning point in the domestic passenger traffic landscape. The sharp decline was primarily attributed to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines faced operational restrictions, reduced flight frequencies, and a decline in consumer demand. The subsequent recovery in 2021, with 13,339,634 passengers, indicates a gradual return to normalcy as the aviation industry adapted to the new normal with enhanced safety measures and increased vaccination efforts.

Economic conditions have played a crucial role in shaping domestic passenger traffic patterns. Fluctuations in GDP growth, inflation rates, insecurity, and income levels impact people’s ability to travel. The years with higher passenger numbers often correlate with periods of economic stability, increased kidnappings on roads, and growth, highlighting the interdependence between the aviation industry and the overall economic health of the country.

Over the past decade, escalating insecurity on key Nigerian roads, notably marked by repeated kidnappings since 2016, has profoundly shaped decisions regarding airline passenger traffic. The persistent threat of attacks by bandits has substantially influenced travelers to opt for air travel, circumventing routes plagued by security concerns. This shift is evident in the increasing reliance on air transportation, particularly during the years marked by economic growth, such as 2018 and 2019. The aviation industry has emerged as a preferred choice, providing a safer alternative amid the challenges posed by insecurity on major roadways. The impact of these security considerations is evident in the fluctuations of airline passenger numbers, reflecting the evolving landscape of travel preferences in response to heightened concerns over safety and security.

The aviation sector has witnessed technological advancements, contributing to improved efficiency and safety. Increased connectivity, online booking platforms, and digital transformation have made air travel more accessible and convenient. These advancements are expected to continue influencing passenger behavior and contributing to future growth.

While predicting the future is inherently uncertain, drawing insights from historical data and potential developments allows us to make informed forecasts. Key influencers, including economic recovery, global events, security concerns on Nigerian roads, and technological advancements, are poised to shape the trajectory of domestic passenger traffic in Nigeria. As the world adapts to the post-pandemic landscape, the aviation industry is anticipated to undergo a gradual resurgence, with passenger numbers edging closer to pre-pandemic levels. However, given the concerted efforts by the current government and newly appointed security chiefs to address security challenges on Nigerian roads, coupled with the impact of inflation on the populace, the consulting teams at Cliqjets believe that the outlook for passenger traffic in 2024 may face challenges that will negatively affect the recovery of the industry from Covid-19 impact.


Over the past decade, Nigeria’s domestic passenger traffic has navigated a terrain marked by both challenges and triumphs. The sector’s resilience shines through, evident in its ability to bounce back from the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we set our sights on the future, Nigeria’s aviation industry stands on a point of transition of growth to be driven by economic stability, technological advancements, and a changing travel landscape.

Yet, a critical factor demands our attention – the security landscape. A security improvement could tilt the preference of Nigerians towards road travel, particularly in light of the recent surge in flight ticket prices. It is paramount for stakeholders, including airlines, regulators, and policymakers, to collaboratively chart a course that ensures the sustainability and prosperity of Nigeria’s domestic aviation sector in the years ahead.

About the Author

Shadrach Swante Kambai

Flight Operations Consultant, Aviation Data Analyst, Business Developer (shadrach@cliqjets.com)

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