Tayo Busayo, Abuja –
With 204, 649 tonnes of cargo, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria has been ranked among the top five air cargo airports in Africa in 2001.
Nigeria is behind Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya with 363, 204 tonnes of cargo, Cairo International Airport, Egypt (333,536 tonnes), Oliver Reginald International Airport, South Africa (304, 018), and the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Ethiopia with 226, 417 tonnes of cargo that moved through the aerodromes according to the Airports Council International statistics.
The statistics were made available by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt Rabiu Yadudu at the second edition of the Aviation and Cargo Conference, tagged CHINET held in Lagos recently.
The FAAN boss however expressed disappointment that the nation still has a long way to go in the domestic air cargo facilitation, saying that it was his belief that it can do much better given the country’s population and agricultural capacity and output.
“It is not news that many of our farm produce is transported by road and as such most of the produce got damaged and loose quality in transit. This calls for urgent aviacargo intervention as it is one of the major reasons for food scarcity and high prices in some parts of the country.
The airlines are therefore urged to increase their capacity in domestic air cargo operations. I believe that if this is done and with the development of Aviacargo national guidelines and its deliberate implementation, we stand the opportunity of increasing the domestic freight by at least 30% year on year going forward.
Yadudu noted that it is quite obvious that the nation has the capacity to triple this volume if it gets its priorities right and do the needful.
He disclosed that Nigeria surpassed the African growth of 11.6% in 2021 with a fair margin, having recorded an increase of 52% within the same period.
He further stated that within the same period in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines has just published its financial statement and shows that 59% of its revenue came from cargo, stressing that this shows the capacity of the market in Africa.
He hinted that Nigeria with over 200 million population and the largest market in Africa will do better.
In a similar vein, Yadudu stated that Nigeria imports more than she exports through air cargo, stressing that in 2017, about 168.7 tons of goods transited through the nation’s airports, with importation accounting for about 66% of this total, while export of goods accounted for the balance of 34%.
In the same year, about 39 tons of mails, Yadudu noted passed through Nigeria’s airports with total mails importation standing at 77%.
His words, “We exported only 23% of the total. Although, the data shows a 52% increase in the total volume of goods and mails that passed through our airports in 2021 compared to 2020 data; It is not a piece of cheering news to say that we have not been able to reduce the deficits in our ability to export more through our airports”.
“If only we could bridge the gap, then we would confidently say that we will be ranked at the top of busiest cargo handling airport in Africa and compete favorably in the global aviation index. This should be our next task. The AviaCargo guideline should be the clear way to go”.