Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

The current global pandemic, the COVID-19 virus that has crippled many economies especially of developed nations is gradually taking its toll on Nigeria, as her revenue from the aviation industry has dwindled in the last 10 days. Statistics also show that over 1, 741 nationals have been evacuated from the country through the Murtala International Airport MMIA, Lagos alone over the same period.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had addressed the nation penultimate Sunday, following growing concerns over the spread of the pandemic in the country, as a total of 97 persons including some top government officials and politicians had tested positive to the virus with one casualty. These concerns had also necessitated a partial lockdown then in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja which had the highest number of cases, as part of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

Statistics from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN, had indicated that as at the close of work on Monday, a total of 1,739 foreigners had been evacuated from the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport MMIA, located in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital since the evacuation exercise started about 10 days ago, which coincided with the address of the President and subsequent lockdown of some areas.

Available statistics show that at the close of work Wednesday, a total of 1, 741foreign nationals had been evacuated from Nigeria comprising 899 French nationals airlifted through Air France while Lufthansa airlifted 238, Middle East Airlines MEA airlifted 140 and another 660 airlifted by the Ethiopian Airlines. Others include the nine passengers airlifted by Jad Air, Nigeria’ s Air Peace airlifted 87 foreign passengers while the United States-owned Delta Airlines airlifted a total of 208.

Apart from the increasing number of foreigners being evacuated from the country, more worrisome to the apex airport authority in the country is the sharp decline in the number of planes that land and takeoff from the airport, the busiest international airport in the country, a development that has taken its toll on the agency’s revenue generation.

Available statistics show that MMIA before now handles an average of 23-28 international flights on daily basis, but which has recorded a sharp decline to about 10 flights daily in the last 10 days since the pandemic began to spread in the country with the attendant drastic reduction in its revenue.