An analysis of seat capacity for travel to the top ten international airports in Africa, produced by ForwardKeys, reveals that Lagos is seeing substantial declines in both domestic and international capacity, mainly because Arik Air is cutting 53% of its seats for the rest of 2017. During the coming five months, August – December 2017, there will be 16% fewer airline seats on domestic routes and 9% fewer and on international routes to and from Lagos.
Commenting on this data, Jon Howell, Managing Director of AviaDev, Africa’s leading airline route development conference, said: “One of the major reasons for falling arrivals by air to Nigeria, is the fact that many airlines could not repatriate funds after the currency crisis in 2016. As a result, Iberia and United Airlines have ceased operations to Nigeria, whilst Emirates and the other foreign carriers have scaled back services. The Nigerian airlines have suffered too and so this void has been filled by the ever-opportunistic Ethiopian Airlines, who began serving their fifth Nigerian destination, Kaduna on 1st August 2017 and are now the largest carrier in the Nigerian market.”
Most of the other airports in Africa’s top ten are seeing a healthy growth in capacity, which is more international than it is domestic. However, the most notable exception to this trend is Nairobi, which is seeing a 22% boost in domestic capacity.