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Nigerian Eagle Airlines

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Nigerian Eagle Airlines - airline information




General information


Nigerian Eagle Airlines

Nigerian Eagle Airlines is a low cost carrier based in Lagos, Nigeria.

The carrier was launched in 2004 as "Virgin Nigeria" by Sir Richard Branson from the UK. It is still part of the billionaire's empire. Rebranding took place in 2008.

The parent company of Nigerian Eagle Airlines is Virgin Atlantic Airways.

The IATA and ICAO codes are VK and VGN, which have remained the same even after the name change took place.

The company owns just about a dozen planes, operating from its only hub, Murtala International Airport near Lagos, the capital of Nigeria.

Aiming at the low cost air travel segment, Nigerian Eagle Airlines sells cheap airline tickets to a large variety of African destinations, including domestic Nigerian cities and Europe. The company wishes to serve routes to the USA as well.

This airline is actually taking the place of a defunct local airline called Nigeria Airways.

Nigerian Eagle Airlines flies medium and large size aircraft as well. It is one of the very few low cost carriers to use Airbus A340s, on long haul flights, of course, from Nigeria to Europe.


Fact sheet


 General company information...

Official name: 

Nigerian Eagle Airlines



IATA designator:


ICAO designator:



Lagos, Nigeria





Murtala Mohammed International Airport - Lagos, Nigeria

Focus cities, regions,

secondary hubs:


Number of destinations:


 Fleet & flights-related...

Fleet size:

7 (+8 orders)

Aircraft types used:

Airbus A330, Airbus A340

Embraer ERJ-190, Embraer ERJ-170

Accidents & incidents:



Number of passengers:




Frequent flyer program:


Other important issues:

- Nigerian Eagle Airlines is Africa's biggest low cost airline

- the company started off exclusively with leased aircraft from other carriers




The airline sells airline tickets to the following African destinations (to some of these places operations have started recently):


Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire)  

Abuja (Nigeria)

Accra (Ghana)

Banjul (Gambia)

Calabar (Nigeria)

Cotonou (Benin)

Dakar (Senegal)

Douala (Cameroon)

Kano (Nigeria)

Lagos (Nigeria)

Monrovia (Liberia)

Owerri (Nigeria)

Port Harcourt (Nigeria)

Sokoto (Nigeria)




Nigerian Eagle Airlines uses a mixed fleet consisting of the following types of airplanes: Airbus A340s, Airbus A330s and Embraer 190s and 170s.

In the past there were Boeing 737s, 2 Fokker 50 and 2 ATR-42-500 planes, but were given up.

In the beginning most of the airplanes were leased from various airlines like: bmi, Virgin Atlantic Airways, GECAS, Denim Air.

Until 2010, new acquisitions are planned in order to reach a number of about 50 airplanes. 40 new purchases are planned. However, its' still unclear what types of planes will be purchased.


Activity & market position


The company is owned 49 % by Virgin Atlantic Airways, which is part of the immense business empire of billionaire British businessman, Sir Richard Branson. The majority, 51 % of the shares are in the hands of various Nigerian investors.

The British side has dominant position, being the biggest stakeholder (with 49 %).

Nigerian Eagle Airlines is currently aiming at the strong North American air travel market, specifically at airports like the Newark International Airport near New York city, George Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas and the Washington DC. But, the USA has not granted the company the permit to operate on US territory, due to a dispute with the British side. The Nigerian government has retaliated by denying Continental Airlines' the right to operate direct flights between Nigeria and the USA.

Negotiations are still being conducted in order to establish a direct flight path between Nigeria and the USA, served by Nigerian Eagle Airlines Airways.

At this time, only charter flights are being operated between Nigeria and the USA.


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 Last modified/updated: November 20, 2009


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