Air Nigeria

  (Redirected from Virgin Nigeria Airways)

Air Nigeria (originally Virgin Nigeria Airways, and then Nigerian Eagle Airlines), was the national flag carrier of Nigeria,[1] which operated scheduled regional and domestic passenger services. The airline's base was Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Ikeja, its head office was in Lagos Island, Lagos and the C&M building in Crawley,[2] and its registered office was in Ikoyi, Lagos.[3]

Air Nigeria
Air nigeria logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded2004 (as Virgin Nigeria)
Commenced operations28 June 2005
Ceased operations10 September 2012
Operating basesMurtala Muhammed International Airport
Frequent-flyer programEagleflier
Fleet size12
Parent company
HeadquartersIkeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
Key people
  • Jimoh Ibrahim, Chairman
  • Kinfe Kahssaye, CEO
  • Olisakwe livinus
Virgin Nigeria's logo.
A Virgin Nigeria Airbus A330-200 at Gatwick Airport, England that was leased from BMI. (2007)

The airline, which effectively replaced the defunct Nigeria Airways, was founded in 2004 as a joint venture between Nigerian investors and the Virgin Group. Virgin withdrew from the business between 2008 and 2010. Following two name changes, Air Nigeria announced on 6 September 2012 that it had made its staff redundant and ceased operations on 10 September 2012.[4]



Nigerian institutional investors owned 51% of the company and Virgin Atlantic the remaining 49%. The airline's inaugural flight was on 28 June 2005 from Lagos to London Heathrow, using an Airbus A340-300 aircraft. Virgin Nigeria quickly became one of Nigeria's largest airlines, carrying its 1,000,000th passenger and 4,000th ton of freight within two years of operation. The airline also received accolades including THISDAY Awards 2006 Airline of the year[5] and a nomination for 2006 African Airline of the year by ASATA (Association of South African Travel Agents).[6] Virgin Nigeria had plans to make Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja its second base, where, in addition to its Lagos base Murtala Muhammed International Airport, it would serve all countries in West Africa.[7]

Sale of Virgin's stake and rebrandingEdit

Logo used for Nigerian Eagle Airlines.

On 19 August 2008, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was in talks to sell its 49 percent stake and reviewing whether it was appropriate that the Virgin brand should remain linked to Virgin Nigeria.[8] This followed a dispute which arose after Virgin Nigeria's domestic operations were moved against its will by the Ministry of Transportation to Terminal 2. Virgin Nigeria had twice refused the directive to relocate its domestic operations from the international terminal, citing the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding it had signed with the previous (Olusegun Obasanjo) administration, and pending appeal in a Lagos High court, as reasons for not complying.

On 9 January 2009, Virgin Nigeria announced it would suspend all long haul flights to London Gatwick and Johannesburg, effective 27 January 2009.[9]

On 17 September 2009, Virgin Nigeria announced on its website it had rebranded as Nigerian Eagle Airlines. Nigerian Eagle Airlines also stated that it planned to focus on domestic and regional flights with further expansion into Europe and eventually the United States of America.[10] Virgin retained its 49% stake in the new Nigerian Eagle Airlines with the remaining 51% held by Kassy Olisakwe.

Rebranding as Air Nigeria, and cessation of operationsEdit

On 2 June 2010, following the acquisition of a majority share in the airline, Jimoh Ibrahim, the new Chairman, announced that the airline had undergone a further name change to Air Nigeria Development Limited, branded as Air Nigeria.[11] On 13 June 2012, the carrier was grounded by regulators for safety checks.[12]

On 6 September 2012 Air Nigeria announced that the management had fired its staff ‘for being disloyal' and the airline ceased all its local, regional, and international operations.[13] Operations ceased on 10 September 2012.[4]

On the 19 September 2018, the Nigerian government suspended the plans to launch the Nigeria air indefinitely.[14] No concise reasons were given for the suspension.[15]


Codeshare agreementsEdit


Closing fleetEdit

The Air Nigeria fleet consisted of the following aircraft shortly before it ceased operations (as of April 2012):[19]

Air Nigeria Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet On Order Passengers Note
J Y Total
Airbus A330-200 2 24 244 268 Leased from EgyptAir
Boeing 737-300 8 16 100 116
Boeing 737-400 1
Embraer 190AR 2 12 84 96
Total 13

Historic fleetEdit

A Virgin Nigeria Airbus A320-211 departs Brussels Airport, Belgium. The aircraft was leased from BH Air. (2005)

Before rebranding, Virgin Nigeria had also operated the following aircraft:[20]

Virgin Nigeria Airways Past Fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A320-200 2 2005 2007 Leased from BH Air
Airbus A330-200 3 2007 2007 Leased from British Midland International
Airbus A340-300 2 2005 2006 Leased from Virgin Atlantic
ATR 42-500 1 2008 2009 Leased from Interstate Airlines
Boeing 737-300 2 2005 2007 Leased from GECAS
Boeing 767-300ER 2 2007 2009 Leased from SmartLynx Airlines
Fokker 50 1 2007 2008 Leased from Denim Air

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Air Nigeria ends international flights." Retrieved on 11 December 2012.
  2. ^ "Registered Office Archived 2012-05-18 at the Wayback Machine." Air Nigeria. Retrieved on 21 May 2012. "159/161 Broad Street, Marina Lagos Island Lagos, Nigeria."
  3. ^ "AN Registered Offices." Air Nigeria. Retrieved on 28 June 2010. "Registered Office 188 Awolowo Road South West Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria. Head Office 9th Floor Etiebets Place 21, Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria. "
  4. ^ a b Brock, Joe. "Air Nigeria shuts down in latest aviation setback". Reuters. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  5. ^ Virgin Nigeria wins 2006 Airline of the Year award., website, retrieved March 27, 2007
  6. ^ Virgin Nigeria nominated for 2006 African Airline of the year Archived 2007-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, Association of South African Travel Agents website, retrieved 27 March 2007
  7. ^ Virgin Nigeria buys bevy of Embraer regional jets: AINonline Archived 2007-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-08-24. Cite uses generic title (help)
  9. ^ "Flights Have Now Finished". Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  10. ^ "Virgin Nigeria Rebrand As Nigerian Eagle Airlines". Archived from the original on 2009-09-22. Retrieved 2009-09-18.
  11. ^ "Nigerian Eagle Airlines Rebrands As Air Nigeria". Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-06-07.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Hope of Air Nigeria's return dims as AOC expires". Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Nigeria Air relaunch grounded". BBC News. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  16. ^ "Nigerian Eagle Signs Code-share Deal with Delta". Archived from the original on 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
  17. ^ "Delta News Hub". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  18. ^ Nigerian Eagle Airlines signs Codeshare with Kenya Airways[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Air Nigeria Fleet | Airfleets aviation". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  20. ^ "Virgin Nigeria Fleet | Airfleets aviation". Retrieved 2017-08-24.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Air Nigeria at Wikimedia Commons