Revenue < Expenditure: Nigerian Airports By The Numbers

My ‘secret sauce’ recently sent me some interesting numbers regarding Nigeria’s airports. The information is too good not to share so I am doing just that.

I wont say too much about them and just let you get on with playing with the numbers but a couple of points to note.

1. These are the official numbers i.e. what has been declared to/by FAAN. As I have been made to understand, the passenger numbers come from the airlines who have every incentive to under-report their numbers given that the number of passengers determines their tax liabilities. So if you see some strange looking numbers, well….

2. I got the passenger numbers and revenue numbers seperately and then combined them. It’s quite possible that they were prepared by two different sets of people or departments inside FAAN. This might explain some interesting discrepancies in the numbers. As an example, when you look at Osubi Airport in 2009, you see it reported zero revenues but at the same time it also recorded 417,041 passengers. These passengers passed through the airport for free?

3. The 2011 numbers relate are for January to July 2011. These are the latest figures available. Please bear this in mind if you are doing any comparison of the figures. There are also no passenger numbers available yet. Again looking at the 2011 numbers, you can see that Bauchi declared zero revenues from January to July. But if you recall this story from March involving Fola Adeola’s plane landing in Bauchi for a Presidential campaign rally, one wonders if it’s free to land at Bauchi ‘Airport’.

4. As you will see, some of the revenues are presumably obtained in US Dollars and declared seperately. There were also, naturally, some expenses incured in US Dollars as follows

2009 – A total of $3,211,021 in expenses were recorded made up of $651,709 ‘Training Course Fees’, $832,014 ‘Estacode’ and $1,727,298 ‘Other Operational Expenses’

2010 – A total of $4,827,988 in expenses were recorded made up of $720,810 Training Course Fees, $1,108,178 Estacode and $2,999,000 Other Operational Expenses

2011 – As at July this year, $2,621,694 has been recorded in expenses made up of $1,608,685 Training Course Fees, $817,542 Estacode and $195,467 Other Operational Expenses.

Note that all the US Dollar expenses are seperate and in addition to the Naira expenses shown in the spreadsheet. All the US Dollar expenses are charged to the ‘Head Office’. 


All told, these numbers are sad – essentially the story of Nigeria. In 2010, all of our airports combined recorded just under 14m passengers. This is only slightly more than what Manchester Airport alone in the UK does in a year (no point discussing Heathrow).

We have clearly used airports to compensate for our bad roads. What is the justification for Katsina airport for example which brought in N2m in revenues in the same period it paid out N56m in salaries? Essentially two airports, Lagos and Abuja, are subsidising all the other airports in the country.

But even as bad as things are, turning the airports around is not the hardest job in the world if there’s a will to do so. Port Harcourt Airport for instance can clearly be made profitable under determined management in a short period of time. 

So when you hear that Nigeria is spending 75% of her budget on recurrent expenditure, here’s an example of the little drops that have made that ocean.

Have a go at the numbers by clicking on the ‘spreadsheet’ link below and if you find anything interesting, leave a comment if you please.





10 thoughts on “Revenue < Expenditure: Nigerian Airports By The Numbers

  1. Only few Nigerians travel by air when compared to our total population.

    – We have clearly used airports to compensate for our bad roads.-
    How do you mean sir?

  2. I meant that we clearly only have airports in some places probably because the roads are worse. I am not sure we would need an airport in Katsina if the roads or ground transportation network wasnt a worse option.

  3. Interesting.

    But do you have any summary accompanying accounting policy notes.

    – how is revenue defined?
    – is revenue recorded gross or net?
    – is there other income that is received from FG in a loan Acct and then used to defray charges classed as Federal (eg Presidential election campaigning)?
    – are salary costs an allocation (as this could include Federal employees Customs, airforce, police etc)? and
    – are the airports purely commercial or is there a mixed use eg airforce bases?

    Good work but it is difficult to make the numbers confess without more commentary.

  4. These numbers are as I’ve received them. I think the minister requested them to make a presentation to the president so it’s high level stuff.

    I would imagine the salaries are all for FAAN staff and not including military personnel. All these numbers are strictly from FAAN.

  5. the airport at Katsina was for Umaru’s use. i was going to ask the same questions Akinsope asked as regards the revenues.
    the numbers are slightly disturbing to say the least. the figures don’t make much sense to me. FAAN collate these figures for what purpose? if the bauchi and akure airports are still open, then it obvious noone’s worrying over the numbers. Nigeria bleeds money.
    and yes, your conclusion is fairly accurate, people use air travel simply cos of the conditions of the roads.

  6. The new minister is trying to carry out a ‘transformation’ of Nigeria’s aviation industry…never mind that having a dedicated Ministry of Aviation is actually part of the problem.

    She recently gave a presentation to the President seeking funds to rehabilitate 11 of the airports to international standards.
    These numbers were prepared for her as part of the review I believe.

  7. What is “head office” or “head quarters” and does it raise invoices for the smaller airports?

    I can’t cry for Nigeria as I have run out of tears.

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