When looking at African airlines, many people are surprised when it is revealed that they have been in operation for decades, and in some cases, more than a century. Nigerian Airlines is one such airline whose history is a lot older than most of us. It was established in 1958 after the West African Airways Corporation (WAAC) faded from existence. From 1958 to 1971 it retained the name WAAC Nigeria until it re-invented itself with the name we know today.
Nigerian Airways ownership
Until 1961, the Nigerian government owned 51% of the company, along with Elder Dempster Lines and BAOC as shareholders. In 1961 the Nigerian government became the sole owner, officially making the airline the national flag-carrier of Nigeria.
Nigerian Airways hub and destinations
The Nigerian Airways hub was located at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, providing domestic flights as well as international flights to a number of destinations in West Africa. It also flew to a limited number of locations in Europe, North America and Saudi Arabia. It had a secondary hub at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and its focus city was Port Harcourt International Airport. It has been managed in part by British Airways, KLM and South African Airways over the years.
Nigerian Airways history
Nigeria Airways had its share of ups and downs over the years. It flourished for a while; at its best, its fleet consisted of 30 aircraft which included Boeings, Airbuses and Douglases. The Nigerian Airways fleet evolved through the decades. During its time the airline owned a variety of aircraft including Herons, Fokkers and Cornets. At one point it had a vast route network connecting various countries in West Africa and had routes that included key destinations in Europe, the UK and the USA. The airline logo consisted of the Nigerian flag with a green elephant in the middle, which was called ‘Skypower’.
By the 1980s, however, it started to decline due to corruption and mismanagement of funds. It’s accumulation of massive debts led to the impounding of most of its aircraft. Despite heroic attempts to dig itself out of debt by increasing fares, passenger numbers plummeted and the airline was unable to save itself. Many flights were discontinued, in some cases, routes were transferred to other airlines such as Okada Air and staff were systematically let go. After a few accidents and further staff reductions, the airline was further crippled.
The final years of Nigerian Airways
In the 1990s, the Nigerian government decided to sell some of its shares with the intention of restructuring the company. After considering a number of options that included partnering with international airlines, the government decided to finally liquidate the airline. Nigerian Airways shut its door in 2003. At this time it provided carrier services to a total of 9 destinations. Domestic destinations included Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt; international destinations were Abidjan, Dubai, Jeddah, London and New York. With a humble fleet of one aircraft and two leased aircraft, Nigeria Airways was eventually succeeded by Air Nigeria.
Nigerian Airways booking
It is no longer possible to book Nigerian Airways flights. You can still book cheap flights with Nigerian airlines like Air peace, Dana Air and Arik Air. Use the flight booking tool at the top of this page to search, compare and book cheap flights.
There are several alternative Nigerian airlines which you can book online using the flight booking tool at the top of this page.
Air Peace Booking
Dana Air Booking
Arik Air Booking
How to book Nigerian flights
It is now easier than ever to book flights online. With FlightScanner.com.ng you can compare flight ticket prices with leading Nigerian and international airlines, such as Air Peace,