Air Nigeria was created in the hopes of replacing Nigeria Airways. You may recognise this airline as “Virgin Nigeria Airways”, or perhaps as “Nigerian Eagle Airlines”, but you won’t recognise one of its aircraft in the sky because, like its predecessor, it is no longer in operation. Its life span was about 7 years; it was founded in 2004, becoming fully operational in mid-2005 with its inaugural Airbus flight from Lagos to London.
Much to the dismay of its loyal supporters, services came to a grinding halt in September 2012 despite offering the standard services that most Nigerian carriers offer, such as a functional frequent flier programme called ‘SkyEagle’. Air Nigeria initially came into existence to replace Nigeria Airways and was co-founded by certain Nigerian investors and the Virgin Group.
Back in its heydey, Air Nigeria was the flag-carrier of Nigeria that gave wings to passengers who wanted to travel to destinations within Nigeria, and to those who wanted to fly to selected regional destinations. Its hub was located at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Ikeja and its head office was in Lagos Island, Lagos. It had a modest fleet of 12 carriers including a number of Boeings, two Airbuses and Embraers, and flew to a total of 19 destinations within Nigeria and West Africa.
Air Nigeria was widely supported by locals travelling internally, as well as international travellers during the time that it was fully operational. From its first flight from Lagos to London, the airline grew to become one of the largest airlines in Nigeria, clocking up passenger numbers at an exponential rate and transporting its millionth passenger within two years of becoming operational. It also won a number of awards during its time, such as the THISDAY airline of the year in 2006 and was nominated for African Airline of the year by the Association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA). It had also developed plans to create a second hub at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. Air Nigeria had codeshare agreements with Delta Airlines and Kenya Airways.
Key people involved in the running of this airline included Jimoh Ibrahim as the chairman and Kinfe Kahssaye as the CEO, among others over the years since its inception.
Following the instruction to move its terminal by the Ministry of Transportation, Virgin announced that it was planning to sell its investment, but it retained its share after the airline was rebranded in 2009 as Nigerian Eagle Airlines and after it declared that it would be focusing on domestic and regional flights. 2010 was another year for the re-branding of the airline, this time the name became “Air Nigeria” under the new chairmanship of Jimoh Ibrahim. It was also the year that the Virgin group withdrew from the company due to alleged interference from the political sphere. Despite these changes, management announced in 2012 that all Air Nigeria operations would cease.
Despite the ongoing intention to revive Air Nigeria to become a vast international business network, plans to relaunch were suspended indefinitely in 2018 for no apparent reason (as announced by the Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika).
Air Nigeria booking
It is no longer possible to make an Air Nigeria booking. However, you can use the flight booking tool a the top of this page to search, compare and book cheap flights with other leading Nigerian and international airlines.
There are a number of alternative Nigerian airlines you can choose from: