Poor outing of Nigerian airlines on international routes, has forced the actual air travel market in the country to shrink. Estimates of capacity and frequencies recorded at the airports are discouraging.
The local airlines small, weak and under-capitalised are unable to compete favourably to drive the local potential market.
Some 23 foreign airlines are taking advantage of the local inefficiency, controlling at least 90 per cent of the market share on routes to and from Nigeria.
Currently, only Air Peace is functional on the West Coast while other flag carriers have suspended most of the international operations.
Arik Air, in the wake of its takeover by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), suspended its London, New York and Johannesburg operations.
Med-View Airlines Plc, citing operational and leasing challenges, has also temporarily withheld its London, Dubai and West Coast services.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of African Aviation Services Limited, Nick Fadugba, observed that activities, especially connectivity at hub airports, are parameters for measuring growth of the industry and contributions to the economy.
Unfortunately, Fadugba said, Nigerian hubs at both Lagos and Abuja airports had dropped in capacity and frequencies.
According to Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) estimates, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos had total capacity of 115,919 in 2012, but the figure dropped to 90,014 in 2017. Total frequencies also plummeted from 811 to 603 in the five-year period.
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, had total capacity of 54,600 in 2012 which dropped to 50,520 in 2017, just as the total frequencies fell from 413 in 2012 to 392 in 2017.
This happened while other major airports on the African continent were on the growth path.