Virgin Nigeria to lose ‘Virgin’ brand name next month

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Sir Richard Branson: Virgin Nigeria has been a breath of fresh air in the Nigerian aviation industry with a strong focus on safety and higher standards. It has a real opportunity to grow strongly as the Nigerian economy itself grows from strength to strength in the year’s to come.

Virgin Nigeria is to rebrand in a month’s time to reflect discontinuation of shareholder Virgin Atlantic‘s day-to-day involvement with the carrier, and its new strategic direction.

Several names are being considered for the rebrand – among them ‘Nigerian Eagle’ and ‘Air Nigeria’ – ahead of the change which must be undertaken by 7 July.

Shareholders of the Lagos-based carrier are also meeting this week to discuss future funding for the airline.

Virgin Atlantic, which holds 49% of the airline it established five years ago, is “not extending brand rights”, says a source familiar with the process – adding that Virgin Nigeria, which is looking for additional capital, “doesn’t need the branding cost”.

Virgin Nigeria E-190
© Virgin Nigeria

Last year Virgin Atlantic stated that it planned to sell its stake in the carrier and allow it to stand alone as a wholly Nigerian-owned venture.

Long-term Virgin Nigeria managing director, Conrad Clifford, will be succeeded on 18 June by Dapo Olumide.

He will oversee Virgin Nigeria’s development of local connections with its Boeing 737 and Embraer regional jet fleet, after the airline opted to discontinue long-haul services earlier this year.

A spokesman for Virgin Atlantic says it “supports the strategy of focusing on the domestic market, which is a huge opportunity”.

He adds that the UK carrier “remains open to offers” for its 49% shareholding in “what has been a successful business in terms of a strong safety culture and growth in Nigeria”.

Virgin Atlantic says it “always intended” to pull out from the Nigerian carrier within about five years, and last week brought technical co-operation to a close, essentially ending its day-to-day participation in Virgin Nigeria’s operations.


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