Air Nigeria

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Air Nigeria
Air nigeria logo.png
IATA
VK
ICAO
ANP
Callsign
NICON FLIERS
Founded 2004 (as Virgin Nigeria)
Commenced operations 28 June 2005
Ceased operations 10 September 2012
Operating bases Murtala Muhammed International Airport
Frequent-flyer program Eagleflier
Fleet size 12
Destinations 19
Parent company Nicon Group (50%)
Virgin Atlantic Airways (50%)
Headquarters Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria
Key people Jimoh Ibrahim (Chairman)
Kinfe Kahssaye (CEO)
Website www.myairnigeria.com
Virgin Nigeria's logo.
A Virgin Nigeria Airbus A330-200 at London Gatwick Airport, England that was leased from bmi. (2007)

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, 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 during 2008-2010, and, following two name changes, Air Nigeria ceased operations on 10 September 2012.[2]

The airline's base was Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and London Gatwick Airport, its head office was in Lagos Island, Lagos State and the C&M building in Crawley,[3] and its registered office was in Ikoyi, Lagos State.[4]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

On 28 September 2004, the Nigerian government and Virgin Group signed an agreement to establish a new airline for Nigeria, to be called Virgin Nigeria Airways. Nigerian institutional investors owned 51% of the company and Virgin Atlantic Airways 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 has 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]

The Nigerian government set a deadline of 30 April 2007 for all airlines operating in the country to re-capitalise or be grounded, in an effort to ensure better services and safety. The airline satisfied the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)’s criteria in terms of re-capitalization and was re-registered for operation.[8]

Sale of Virgin's stake and rebranding[edit]

On 19 August 2008, Virgin Atlantic announced that it was "in talks to sell its 49 percent stake in Virgin Nigeria" and reviewing "whether it is appropriate that the Virgin brand should remain linked to Virgin Nigeria”.[9] 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.

Logo used for Nigerian Eagle Airlines.

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 they would suspend all long haul flights to London Gatwick Airport and Johannesburg, effective 27 January 2009.[10]

On 17 September 2009, Virgin Nigeria announced on their website they had rebranded as Nigerian Eagle Airlines. Nigerian Eagle Airlines also stated that they planned to focus on domestic and regional flights with further expansion into Europe and eventually the United States of America.[11] Virgin retained its 49% stake in the new Nigerian Eagle Airlines with the remaining 51% held by Nigerian investors.

Rebranding as Air Nigeria, and cessation of operations[edit]

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.[12] On 13 June 2012, the carrier was grounded by regulators for safety checks.[13]

On 6 September 2012 Air Nigeria announced that the management had fired its staff 'for being disloyal' and the airline will cease all its local, regional and international operations.[14] Operations ceased on 10 September 2012.[15]

Destinations[edit]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Fleet[edit]

Closing fleet[edit]

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 0 24 244 268 Leased from EgyptAir
Boeing 737-300 8 0 16 100 116
Boeing 737-400 1 0
Embraer E-190 2 0 12 84 96
Total 13 0

Historic fleet[edit]

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 A320-211 2 2005 2007 Leased from BH Air
Airbus A330-200 3 2007 2007 Leased from bmi
Airbus A340-300 2 2005 2006 Leased from Virgin Atlantic Airways
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 2 2007 2008 Leased from Denim Air

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Air Nigeria ends international flights." Retrieved on 11 December 2012.
  2. ^ Brock, Joe. "Air Nigeria shuts down in latest aviation setback". Reuters. Retrieved 09-10-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "Registered Office." Air Nigeria. Retrieved on 21 May 2012. "159/161 Broad Street, Marina Lagos Island Lagos, Nigeria."
  4. ^ "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. "
  5. ^ Virgin Nigeria wins 2006 Airline of the Year award., AllAfrica.com website, retrieved March 27, 2007
  6. ^ Virgin Nigeria nominated for 2006 African Airline of the year, Association of South African Travel Agents website, retrieved 27 March 2007
  7. ^ Virgin Nigeria buys bevy of Embraer regional jets: AINonline
  8. ^ Nigeria Direct 2 May 2007
  9. ^ Virgin in talks to sell out of Nigeria
  10. ^ Flights Have Now Finished
  11. ^ Virgin Nigeria Rebrand As Nigerian Eagle Airlines
  12. ^ Nigerian Eagle Airlines Rebrands As Air Nigeria
  13. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-06/D9VCD5F02.htm
  14. ^ Hope of Air Nigeria’s return dims as AOC expires
  15. ^ Brock, Joe. "Air Nigeria shuts down in latest aviation setback". Reuters. Retrieved 09-10-2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  16. ^ Nigerian Eagle Airlines signs Codeshare with Kenya Airways
  17. ^ Nigerian Eagle Signs Code-share Deal with Delta
  18. ^ Delta Starts Codeshare Flights with Air Nigeria
  19. ^ Air Nigeria Fleet
  20. ^ Virgin Nigeria Past Fleet