On Friday, May 26, 2026, a Boeing 737 aircraft adorned with the distinctive ‘Nigeria Air’ logo and colors landed in Nigeria, signaling a significant milestone in the country’s aviation history, according to Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Aviation Minister.
Speaking at the official unveiling of Nigeria Air to the public and the media, the Minister declared, “Today is a great day. The longstanding desire of Nigerians for a national flag carrier has been fulfilled by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. This aligns with the aviation industry masterplan aimed at establishing Nigeria as a vibrant aviation hub.”
Minister Sirika emphasized that Nigeria Air has been established to leverage Nigeria’s Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements (BASA) and open skies agreements, enabling the country to have its own national carrier. “This move will bring immense value to our national economy by positioning Nigeria as a hub for major travel destinations such as London and New York,” he explained. Additionally, having a national carrier will result in more affordable travel options, as tickets for Nigeria Air flights will be priced in the local currency, naira, rather than in dollars as currently done by international airlines.
The establishment of the national airline is expected to boost the capacity of the aviation industry and contribute to the growth of the nation’s economy. It will create employment opportunities for Nigerians, enhance tourism potential, and attract increased inbound investments. The minister projected that the commencement of Nigeria Air’s operations will generate around 400 jobs, with the number increasing to over 70,000 once the carrier is fully operational, encompassing both direct and indirect employment.
To kickstart operations, Nigeria Air plans to deploy an initial fleet of 12 aircraft, with six allocated for domestic routes and another six designated for international routes. This strategic allocation aims to cater to the needs of both local and international travelers, fostering connectivity and facilitating travel within and outside the country.
ABOUT NIGERIA AIR
Nigeria Air has been revived by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the national flag carrier of Nigeria, responsible for operating scheduled international, regional, and domestic passenger services. Serving as a successor to the defunct Nigeria Airways, the airline is a joint venture between Nigerian investors and Ethiopian Airlines, with Nigerian investors holding a majority 51% stake in the partnership.
Previous attempts to revive the defunct Nigeria Airways through a joint venture with Virgin Group in 2004 had faltered due to disagreements over business terms and challenges related to the operating environment, resulting in Virgin’s withdrawal from the partnership between 2008 and 2010. However, the newly formed collaboration, in line with President Buhari’s Aviation Masterplan, has learned from past experiences and aims to capitalize on the opportunity to establish Nigeria as an aviation hub while delivering world-class services at affordable rates to the Nigerian populace.