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.
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
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.
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.