Nigeria is one of those West African countries that could boast of having airlines operating locally while some even go international. This post will show you the airlines in Nigeria that had been issued an Air Operation Certificate by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) with information on each of them that will interest you.
Flying in Nigeria has different meanings to various people. To some, it is a mirage of delays, cancellations of flights and lost luggage. While for others, it’s a beautiful experience worth taking.
Nevertheless, flight travel experience depends solely on the airline or flight service being used. Problems of scheduled flights in Nigeria comes with issues like delays and flight cancellation. However, chartered flight offers a better experience.
In this post, we take a cursory look at all the airlines in Nigeria and the type of flight service they offer.
Below is the list of trusted airlines operating in Nigeria and can be considered the best to fly or travel with.
1. ARIK AIR
Founded in 2002 (commenced work in 2006), Arik Air is one of the leading airlines in the country that operates a domestic, regional and even an international flight network.
This airline had built a strong domestic and regional network with this network waxing year in year out. Currently, it travels to about 26 destinations with its 22 fleets of Air-crafts.
These include 9 Boeing 737-700, 4 Boeing 737-800, 4 Bombardier CRJ900, 4 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, 1 Bombardier CRJ1000, and 2 Airbus A330-200.
It operates from two main Airports in the country and they include Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.
Its head office is the Arik Air Aviation Center on the grounds of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos State. Their website is http://www.arikair.com/ng.
Arik Air began scheduled passenger flights officially in October 2006 when it operated passenger flights to Lagos and Abuja respectively. The airline was authorized by the Federal Government to fly to international destinations like Amsterdam, Trinidad and Tobago, London and Madrid.
2. AERO CONTRACTORS
This is one of the oldest airlines in the country registered in 1960. Actually known as Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited but popularly referred to as Aero Contractors.
Aero is a Nigerian Aviation Company controlled by the Federal Government that is based at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.
This state-controlled airline operates two types of wings. The first being the fixed-wing services which are normally domestic and international passenger schedules and air charter while the rotary-wing provides helicopter services mostly to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
Aero Contractors provides the following services presently:
- Helicopter services
- Air charter
- Third-party aircraft operations
- Fixed-wing domestic scheduled passenger services and
- International scheduled passenger services
It was in 2010, the Ibru family took ownership of Aero Contractors. Financial challenges made the company sell 60% of its shares to the government. At present, the management of Aero Contractors has been taken over by AMCON.
There are speculations that Aero Contractors might be the precursor airline for the country’s new national carrier but the Federal Government has since dispelled such.
Currently, Aero Contractors travels to about 13 destinations and has 17 fixed-wing Aircraft in its fleet. These include 7 Boeing 737-400, 6 Boeing 737-500, 1 De Havilland Dash 8 Q200, 1 De Havilland Dash 8 Q300 and 2 De Havilland Dash 8 Q400.
3. DANA AIR
Dana Air is a domestic airline based in Ikeja Lagos State, Nigeria that serves 5 airports. Its become a popular choice among the flying public.
Dana Air had its license withdrawn in 2012 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority following the 3, June 2012 crash of it McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (flight 992) into a story building in Iju Railway area of Ishaga, Lagos which killed all the 153 persons on-board.
It license was restored in September 2012 even before inquires into the matter was concluded. Interestingly, its license was suspended again in October 2013 and the airline audited before it continues operation in January 2014.
Dana Air has only 5 Aircraft, this includes 1 Boeing 737-500 and 4 McDonnell Douglas MD-83 which would be replaced with 5 Boeing 737-800. It is the most reliable airline in the country at the moment.
Currently, Dana Air operates predominantly as a domestic carrier with the following destinations: Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Uyo.
4. MED-VIEW AIRLINE
This Nigerian based airline was founded in 2007, Med-view Airline is a charter airline meant for moving/airlifting pilgrims from Nigeria to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Hajj but had since 2012 started offering domestic passenger services and now even go international sometimes.
This airline is based in Lagos and offers flight services to 3 international and 8 domestic scheduled destinations.
Engaged in long haul travel, Med-view is one of the airlines in Nigeria that routes passengers to Europe, Asia, and West Africa. Started some months after Arik Air started, Med-view Airline is still expanding its fleet of Aircraft.
Overall, the services offered by Med-View Airlines include:
- Aircraft Charter
- Airport Protocol Services
- Cargo Import / Export
- Cargo Import / Export
- Domestic Operations
- Ground Handling
- Maintenance and Support
- Procurement and obtaining a travel document
- Road Feeder Service (RFS)
- Travel Agent
Currently, Med-view Airline has 1 Boeing 767-300ER, 2 Boeing 737-400 and 1 Boeing 737-500. Aside from these aircraft, Med-view sometimes leases Boeing 747 and a Boeing 777 for Hajj operation.
5. DORNIER AVIATION NIGERIA
This airline had been in existence since 1979 operating from the Old Kaduna Airport.
There is something unique about this airline and that is, it operates only a specific aircraft brand and that is Dornier aircraft. Interestingly, it carries out operations not carried out by other airlines in the country.
The company is known by its customers for its professional service, product knowledge, and excellent customer service
Aside from being a passenger charter airline, Dornier Aviation Nigeria carries out aerial photography, agricultural flying operations as well as emergency medical evacuation services.
Unlike the other airlines above, Dornier Aviation Nigeria does not have a specific scheduled destination. This airline has 17 fleets of aircraft i.e 14 Dornier 228-212 and 3 Dornier 328-110.
6. KABO AIR
Kabo Air was founded by Late Alhaji Dankabo in 1980 with its headquarters is in Kano State. Kabo Airline originally operates special charter services for Government officials, executives and corporate bodies but as of 2009, it was approved to start international scheduled flight operation. Two of these international destinations are Jeddah and Dubai. Kabo Air stopped offering domestic flight services in 2001 though it said it will consider that in the nearest future.
Currently, Kabo Air focused only on Hajj operation and international charter services. In its fleet of aircraft, Kabo only have 2 Boeing 747–200 and 1 Boeing 747–400 making it 3 aircraft in total. This airline is one of those airlines that had really suffered from incidents/accidents in the past. Interestingly, not even a single person had died as a result of such. This is because it normally occurs during landing while one occurred as a result of a fire outbreak and one, a plane while taxing hit a parked Kabo plane. In total, about 6 accidents occurred.
7. OVERLAND AIRWAYS
Overland Airways is a domestic airline based in Ikeja, Lagos State which operates domestic services from Lagos and Ibadan. Though it main base is the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja is its hub. This airline operates in 8 domestic scheduled destinations. These include Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, Akure Airport, Asaba International Airport, Sir Abubakar Tafawa International Airport Bauchi, Ibadan Airport, Ilorin International Airport and Minna Airport. Currently, it maintains 8 fleets of aircraft. These include 3 ATR 42-320, 3 ATR 72-202 and 2 Raytheon Beech 1900D.
8. AIR PEACE
Air Peace with the call sign Peace Bird is a private Nigerian airline founded in 2013 with the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos as its main base. It is one of the best airlines in the country.
This airline provides passengers and charter services to major airports/aerodromes in Nigerian cities. This airline had been approved by the Federal Government as a national carrier to 5 countries.
These include the USA, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, China, and India. Peace Bird maintains 7 fleets of aircraft. These include 4 Boeing 737-500 SP, 2 Boeing 737-300 and 1 Dornier 328 which is used on a charter flight only.
9. ASSOCIATED AVIATION
Associated Aviation is an airline established in 1996 that operates cargo services aside from the passenger services within Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.
This airline is based in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria with the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos as its main base. This airline serves Abuja, Benin, Calabar, Ibadan, Lagos, Makurdi and Jeddah.
When it comes to the fleet of aircraft, this airline has only 3. These include 2 Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia and 1 Embraer ERJ 145. Associated Aviation has had one of their aircraft (Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia) involved in an accident that killed 15 out of the 20 people on board.
This occurred when it was taking the body Dr. Olusegun Agagu (former government of Ondo state) for burial.
10. ALLIED AIRLINE
Allied Airline is a cargo airline with its main base as the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos. This airline operates scheduled as well as charter services in Nigeria and other countries in Africa.
This airline has only 3 Boeing 737-400F. It had also had one of its air-crafts involved in an accident in Ghana where the plane, a Boeing 727-200F operating flight Allied Air Flight 111 overshot the runway and ran into a minivan killing 10 people in the van while 4 crew members were injured. This incident occurred on June 2, 2012.
11. AZMAN AIR
Operating from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, This airline is a domestic airline company based in Kano state.
It operates domestic scheduled passenger services to 6 scheduled destinations in the country. It currently has 2 Boeing 737-300 and 1 Boeing 737-500.
The airline is known for its world-class aviation services, has good customer relationship as well as their operational competence.
Azman Air is known to adhere to globally accredited safety standards and have consistently reviewed their products and services in order to offer better services to their passengers.
In recent times, Azman Air has focused on domestic flights and these include the following routes:
- Lagos to Kano,
- Lagos to Abuja,
- Lagos to Kaduna,
- Lagos to Kebbi,
- Lagos to Gombe,
- Lagos to Yola,
- Lagos to Maiduguri,
- Lagos to Portharcourt,
- Abuja to Kano,
- Abuja to Kebbi,
- Abuja to Lagos,
- Abuja to Maiduguri,
- Abuja to Gombe,
- Abuja to Yola,
- Abuja to Portharcourt,
- Kano to Kebbi,
- Kano to Lagos,
- Kano to Abuja.
12. FIRST NATION AIRWAYS
First Nation Airways is an airline Founded and chaired by the ex-CEO of the now non-functioning Bellview airline.
This airway has its headquarters in Lagos but operates a domestic passenger flight service to 3 scheduled destinations.
These include Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport. First Nation Airways currently maintain only 2 Airbus A319-100 in its fleet of air-crafts.
13. MAX AIR
This is a Nigerian charter airline founded in 2008 that is based at the Aminu Kano International Airport. This airline is a member of the AFDIN Group of Companies having Dahiru Barau Mangal as its chairman and CEO.
Currently, Max Air has 7 fleets of aircraft. These include 4 Boeing 747-300, 2 Boeing 747-400 and 1 Embraer ERJ 135.
14. TAT NIGERIA
TAT Nigeria is a Nigerian charter airline that specializes in taking Christians to Israel for pilgrimage.
This airline is based at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos and does not have its own personal aircraft. The charter aircraft from others to provide their services.
15. IRS Airlines
It was established in 2002, IRS Airlines is one of the major airlines in the country. This airline operates from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
IRS Airlines officially commenced operations in March 2002. IRS flies to the following domestic destinations:
- Abuja (Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport)
- Gombe (Gombe Lawanti International Airport)
- Kaduna (Kaduna Airport)
- Lagos (Murtala Muhammed International Airport)
- Maiduguri (Maiduguri International Airport)
- Port Harcourt (Port Harcourt International Airport)
- Yola (Yola Airport)
Sometime in 2014, an IRS Airlines Fokker 100 crashed somewhere in Ganla, Niger on its way back from a post-maintenance check-up. Two pilots survived with injuries.
Well, they have seized operation for now, maybe in the nearest future. Do you think I have omitted a Nigerian airline in the list? Kindly point that out.
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