airlines in nigeria

List Of All International & Local Airlines In Nigeria

The history of airlines in Nigeria is marked by significant developments and changes, reflecting the growth of aviation within the country. In this detailed article, we will be dwelling on International airlines, the best airlines, top 10 & top 20 airlines as well as new and existing air carriers that focus on local flights in Nigeria.

Before we go into the full list, here is an overview of key events and milestones in the history of airlines in Nigeria:

History of Airlines in Nigeria

1. Pre-Independence Era:

– The earliest airline operations in Nigeria date back to the colonial era, with the establishment of services by airlines such as Imperial Airways (later British Overseas Airways Corporation, BOAC) in the 1930s.

– These services were primarily focused on connecting Nigeria with its colonial ruler, Britain, and other parts of the British Empire.

2. Post-Independence Expansion:

– After gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria saw increased interest in developing its own airlines to enhance domestic and international connectivity.

– In 1958, the Nigerian Airways was established as the national carrier. It played a crucial role in providing air travel services both domestically and internationally.

3. 1970s – 1980s – Deregulation and Expansion:

– The Nigerian government’s “Nigeria Air Policy” aimed to promote domestic airline operations, leading to the emergence of new carriers.

Airlines like Okada Air, Kabo Air, and ADC Airlines began operating domestic routes.
– Nigeria Airways faced financial and operational challenges, leading to its eventual decline.

4. 1990s: Privatization and Liberalization:

– The Nigerian government initiated the privatization of Nigeria Airways in the mid-1990s due to financial difficulties. This resulted in its eventual liquidation in 2003.

– Private airlines such as Arik Air, Dana Air, and Air Peace emerged during this period, contributing to increased competition and growth.

5. 2000s – 2010s: Challenges and Opportunities:

– The Nigerian aviation industry faced various challenges, including safety concerns, regulatory issues, and infrastructural limitations.

– Despite these challenges, airlines like Arik Air and Air Peace continued to expand their operations both domestically and internationally.

6. Recent Developments:

– In 2016, Nigeria signed the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), leading to increased flights between the two countries.

– The Nigerian government also launched the National Carrier Project with the aim of revitalizing the country’s national airline, Nigeria Air. However, as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the project’s status is uncertain.

It’s important to note that the Nigerian aviation industry has experienced a mix of successes and challenges over the years, including issues related to safety, regulatory oversight, infrastructure, and economic fluctuations. The industry continues to evolve, with private carriers playing a significant role in shaping the country’s air travel landscape.

RELATED: Nigeria releases names of approved airlines for international flights

List of new Airlines in Nigeria

A myriad of new airlines have been approved of late to ply international and local routes within the country. Some have already risen to prominence within a short period of time while some are relatively little known.

#1. Nigeria Air: Nigeria Air is the official National Carrier for the Federation which was unveiled to much controversy 3 days to the inauguration of President Tinubu’s Government. The government had plans to establish a new national airline called “Nigeria Air” as a replacement for the defunct Nigerian Airways. Last year July, the Federal Executive Council approved 3 Aircrafts to enable the Airline commence operations.

Book Nigeria Air here

#2. United Nigeria Airlines:  is a relatively new airline that was established with the aim of providing domestic flight services within Nigeria. The airline’s focus is on connecting various cities within the country, contributing to improved air travel options and connectivity for Nigerians.

United Nigeria Airlines commenced operations in February 2021 and operates flights to several destinations within Nigeria. It is one of the airlines contributing to the development and expansion of Nigeria’s aviation industry by providing more options for travelers.

Book United Nigeria Airlines flight Here

Best Airlines in Nigeria

The concept of the “best” airline can be subjective, differing from person to person and can depend on various factors such as safety records, customer service, route network, on-time performance, and passenger amenities. Here are a few airlines in Nigeria that are considered the best in the country:

1. Arik Air: Arik is one of the largest and more established Air Carriers in Nigeria. It operates both domestic and international flights and was known for offering a relatively extensive route network.

2. Air Peace: Air Peace is another prominent Nigerian airline that has gained popularity for its domestic and regional services. It was known for its commitment to safety and expanding its fleet.

3. Dana Air: Dana Air is a domestic airline operating flights within Nigeria. It has gained recognition for its customer service and punctuality.

4. Med-View Airlines: Med-View Airlines also offers domestic and international flights. It was known for its Hajj operations and charter services.

5. United Nigeria Airlines: As mentioned earlier, United Nigeria Airlines is a newer player in the Nigerian aviation scene but has been making efforts to provide reliable domestic flight options.

Book cheap flights with any of the airlines mentioned above here.

List of top 10 & top 20 Airlines in Nigeria

Listed none alphabetically, please note that this is not a ranked list and the order in which they appear on the list is not based on any ranking criteria:

  1. Arik Air
  2. Air Peace
  3. Dana Air
  4. Med-View Airlines
  5. Azman Air
  6. Overland Airways
  7. Max Air
  8. Aero Contractors
  9. Ibom Air
  10. United Nigeria Airlines
  11. First Nation Airways
  12. Delta Airlines
  13. IRS Airlines
  14. Chanchangi Airlines
  15. Allied Air
  16. Green Africa Airways
  17. Dornier Aviation Nigeria
  18. Skyjet Aviation Services
  19. ValueJet
  20. Kabo Air
  21. Hak Air

ALSO READ: How To Book a Flight

International Airlines in Nigeria

International airlines are airlines that operate flights between countries, connecting different nations and regions around the world to each other. These airlines provide air travel services across international borders, serving as a crucial link for global connectivity and transportation.

International airlines offer a wide range of routes, destinations, and services, catering to both leisure and business travelers. They play a significant role in facilitating international trade, tourism, and cultural exchange.

Below, we’ve listed the best airlines you can book for all your international flights when traveling from Nigeria:

1. British Airways: A well-established and renowned British airline, British Airways offers flights connecting major Nigerian cities to destinations around the world. It is known for its premium services and global network.

2. Emirates: Emirates, based in Dubai, is one of the world’s largest and most luxurious airlines. It operates flights from Nigeria to Dubai and beyond, providing a high level of service and connectivity.

3. Turkish Airlines: Turkish Airlines offers flights from Nigeria to Istanbul and various other global destinations. It is known for its extensive route network and modern fleet.

4. Ethiopian Airlines: The flag carrier of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines operates flights from Nigeria to Addis Ababa and other international destinations. It is recognized for its wide African network and efficient operations.

5. Safarilink Airlines: Safarilink primarily operates domestic flights within Kenya and provided air transportation to various safari destinations and national parks, making it a popular choice for tourists looking to explore Kenya’s wildlife and natural beauty.

6. Qatar Airways: Qatar Airways connects Nigeria with its hub in Doha and offers flights to numerous international destinations. It is known for its modern fleet and excellent in-flight services.

7. Lufthansa: Lufthansa, a major German airline, provides flights connecting Nigeria to Europe and beyond. It is known for its quality service and efficient operations.

8. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: KLM operates flights from Nigeria to Amsterdam and various destinations in Europe and beyond. It is a part of the Air France-KLM group.

9. Air France: Air France offers flights connecting Nigeria to Paris and other destinations, providing a mix of luxury and convenience.

10. EgyptAir: EgyptAir connects Nigeria to Cairo and other international destinations, serving as a link between Africa and the Middle East.

11. South African Airways: South African Airways offers flights from Nigeria to Johannesburg and other cities, providing connections to Southern Africa and beyond.

Other more prominent International airlines include:

11. RwandAir
12. Kenya Airways
13. Delta Air Lines
14. United Airlines
15. Virgin Atlantic
16. Qatar Airways
17. Etihad Airways
18. Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia)
19. Air Peace (also operates some international routes)
20. Asky Airlines

Local Airlines in Nigeria

Local airlines, also known as regional or domestic airlines, are airlines that primarily operate flights within a specific country or region. These airlines provide air travel services for short- and medium-haul routes, connecting cities and towns within a country without crossing international borders. Local airlines play a vital role in facilitating domestic connectivity, supporting economic development, and providing transportation options for residents, tourists, and businesses within the region.

The most popular local airlines in Nigeria that operate domestic flights within the country are:

1. Arik Air: One of the largest Nigerian airlines, Arik Air offers a mix of domestic and international flights. It is known for its extensive route network and was one of the pioneers in modernizing the Nigerian aviation industry.

2. Air Peace: Air Peace is a major player in the Nigerian aviation scene, focusing on both domestic and regional flights. It is recognized for its commitment to safety and affordability.

3. Dana Air: Dana Air is a domestic airline providing flights within Nigeria. It is known for its efficient operations and customer service.

4. Med-View Airlines: Med-View Airlines operates domestic and international flights, with a focus on Hajj operations and charter services.

5. Azman Air: Azman Air offers domestic flights within Nigeria and aims to provide affordable air travel options.

6. Overland Airways: When booking flights with Overland Airways, you get access to regional and domestic flights, connecting various cities within Nigeria.

7. Max Air: Max Air primarily operates charter and domestic flights, serving various routes within Nigeria.

8. Aero Contractors: Aero Contractors is one of Nigeria’s oldest airlines, offering both domestic and regional flights. It has played a historical role in the country’s aviation development.

9. Ibom Air: Ibom Air is a state-owned airline based in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. It operates domestic flights, contributing to regional connectivity.

10. United Nigeria Airlines: A relatively new entrant, United Nigeria Airlines focuses on domestic flights within Nigeria, aiming to provide reliable and efficient services.

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