Wednesday 26 September 2012


There are strong indications that British business tycoon, Sir Richard Branson, is still willing to invest in the Nigerian aviation sector, notwithstanding the sour experience the airline mogul had with the Federal Government over the former Virgin Nigeria airline. One of the top officials of Virgin Atlantic Airways said on the sidelines of a media conference recently that Branson would still be willing to invest in the country’s aviation sector. Branson, founder of the famous Virgin Group, had partnered with the Federal Government to establish Virgin Nigeria following the liquidation of the former national carrier, Nigeria Airways, by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. The relationship between the Federal Government and Branson however, went sour after Nigeria’s aviation authorities forcefully stopped Virgin Nigeria’s domestic operations at the international wing of the Lagos airport. The development, Branson said, contradicted major provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding he signed with the Nigerian government before the establishment of Virgin Nigeria. Branson subsequently pulled out his interests in the former Virgin Nigeria. The airline was later acquired by the Chairman of Global Fleet, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim and renamed Air Nigeria in 2010. Air Nigeria recently suspended its entire operations due to what Ibrahim called “staff disloyalty and unfavourable business environment.” However, Virgin Atlantic Airways’ top official revealed that Branson was still willing to invest in Nigeria’s aviation sector again.

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