21 International Airlines Operating In Nigeria

21 International Airlines Operating In Nigeria

1 year ago
6 mins read

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, which makes every sector, especially the aviation industry, a lucrative market for international airline operators to set up shop.

Air travel is vital to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP), with 16.17 million passengers going through the country’s airports in 2022, up from 15 million the year before. 

According to the data from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), outbound international passengers rose by 700,000, from 1.10 million in 2021 to 1.85 million last year. 

Similarly, inbound international passenger traffic was up by 538,604 to 1.64 million in 2022, rising from 1.10 million during the corresponding period. 

These inbound and outbound international passengers depend on several international airlines operating in Nigeria to make their international air travel possible. 

The increase in both inbound and outbound passengers also indicates potential revenue growth for international airlines operating within the country. 

21 international airlines operating in Nigeria

Emirates Airlines 

Founded in March 1985 as a flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, Emirates Airlines is one of the international airlines operating in Nigeria.

  • Emirates Airlines has grown from a company that depended on Pakistan International Airlines for two of the airline’s first aircraft and free training facilities to expanding into about 250 fleet size. 
  • Nigeria is one of the about 80 countries which Emirates flies into and out of with its 119 Airbus A380 aircraft and 134 Boeing 777 aircraft, making the country a revenue source for the firm which generated $29.3 billion in the 2022/2023 financial year. 
  • For a company that started operation with a $10 million start-up capital, Emirates has grown into the world’s fourth-largest airline by scheduled revenue passenger-kilometres flown and the second-largest in terms of freight tonne-kilometres flown. 

Turkish Airlines 

From being a department of the Ministry of National Defense in Turkey to becoming the country’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines has spread its airspace operation across over 120 countries, one of which is Nigeria. 

  • Turkish Airlines, founded in May 1933, is a $2.7 billion profit-making company, as of 2022, making it one of the most profitable airlines in the world last year. 
  • With about 400 fleet size, Turkish Airlines travel to around 340 destinations. This is a company that started operations with five aircraft. 
  • Currently, the majority of its fleet consists of Boeing and Airbus. According to the Chairman of Turkish Airlines’ Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, Ahmet Bolat, in May 2023, the company will increase its aircraft by 600 new orders in the next 10 years. 

Air Canada 

Canada has become one of the japa (migration, in local parlance) destinations for many Nigerians of late, so it’s no wonder that Air Canada is operating in the African nation. 

  • Air Canada was established as Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) in 1937, before it rebranded to its current name in 1965, catering to about 90 destinations. 
  • The Canadian national carrier has a fleet size of over 350, some of which are Boeing and Airbus, making it one of the largest airlines in North America. 
  • Nigeria contributes to Air Canada’s $4.9 billion in revenue in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023, which covers January, February and March. 
  • While Air Canada was able to net such turnover, the company once filed bankruptcy in April 2003 and had to depend on Deutsche Bank, which provided an $850 million financing package and also used Canadian singer, Celine Dion, as its brand’s face to draw passengers to Air Canada. 

British Airways 

British Airways is a subsidiary of International Airlines Group (IAG), a holding company registered in Madrid, Spain, after it merged with Iberia in 2011. 

  • The United Kingdom airline operator also ply the Nigerian airspace, offering international air transportation to Nigerians and foreigners interested in going in and out of the African nation. 
  • British Airways, established in 1974, has about 257 fleets and travels to 183 destinations, which contributed to the €5.9 billion revenue generated by its parent company. 
  • In its 49 years in operation, British Airways has acquired a number of airlines, which are British Caledonian in 1987, Dan-Air in 1992, and British Midland International in 2012. 

Air Peace 

Air Peace is one of the few international airlines operating in Nigeria without first being a government-owned airline or enjoying government subsidies. 

  • Despite the fact that Air Peace was founded in 2013, the company is widely regarded as the de facto national carrier of the country. 
  • While there are no available financial records of Air Peace, one thing that is certain is that the company is the largest passenger airline in Nigeria, with 30 fleet size dominated by E2 from Embraer, Airbus A320, Boeing B737 and Boeing B777. 
  • Air Peace currently touches down in about 20 destinations, but its growth prospect is high considering the company placed a firm order for 13 brand new E2-195 aircraft, 15 Boeing 737 Max 8 & Max 10 according to its Chief Operating Officer, Toyin Olajide, last week. 

Deutsche Lufthansa Group 

Known globally as Lufthansa, the company was established in 1953 by former Deutsche Luft Hansa employees, as the firm was dissolved after World War II due to its connection to Germany’s Nazi government. 

  • The company’s initial brand name was Luftag but later transformed into Deutsche Lufthansa, which is the second-largest airline in Europe in terms of passengers. 
  • Lufthansa, which is the national carrier of Germany, operates in Nigeria as one of the country’s international airlines, raking in €32.8 billion during the 2022 financial year from the African and global markets through its group business. 
  • The revenue was generated with the help of over 270 fleet size that travels into about 300 destinations, as well as its subsidiaries; Austrian Airlines, SWISS and Eurowings. 

Delta Air Lines 

Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s oldest airlines operating international service in Nigeria and 51 other countries on different continents. 

  • The United States airline operator has access to over 320 destinations, which earned Delta Air Lines $3.6 billion profit in 2022, making the company the most profitable airline last year. 
  • Delta Lines is reportedly the second world’s largest airline by the number of passengers carried, catering to them with an over 900 fleet. 
  • As of 17 June 2023, Delta Air Lines, which was founded in March 1925, has a market capitalisation of $27.50 billion according to Nasdaq and CompaniesMarketCap. 

Ethiopian Airlines 

Ethiopian Airlines is the flag carrier of Ethiopia, providing service in over 120 destinations, which includes Nigeria, with a fleet size of 140. 

  • The airline operator, established in December 1945, is Africa’s largest airline in terms of passengers carried, destinations served, fleet size, and revenue. 
  • According to the Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Investment Holdings, Mamo Mihretu, Ethiopian Airlines generated $5 billion in the first half of 2022 from these flight routes. 
  • Ethiopian Airlines was involved in the controversial Nigeria Air, Nigeria’s proposed national carrier, which has been enmeshed in corruption allegations. 

Kenya Airways 

Kenya Airways, the flag carrier of Kenya, operates in Nigeria and over 50 other destinations in several continents, with about 34 fleet size that includes mostly Boeing, Embraer, as well as Douglas. 

  • The airline, previously owned fully by the Kenyan government, was founded in 1977 following the dissolution of East African Airways. Kenya Airways is now a public-private partnership. 
  • Kenya Airways investors are the Kenyan government, with a 48.9% stake. KQ Lenders Company 2017 Limited, owned by a consortium of banks, owns about 38.1$ Ltd, while KLM has a 7.8% stake in the airline operator. 
  • This airline operator is one of the top African airlines in terms of revenue, generating about $888.73 million from Nigeria and other airspace in 2022, although the company suffered $290 million loss in the same year. 

KLM Royal Dutch 

Have you heard of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappi? If you haven’t, it’s understandable, as the airline operator is known more by its initials, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines rather than its legal name. 

  • One of KLM’s many destinations is Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. But that’s not where it ends, as KLM also land in over 140 destinations with its scheduled passenger and cargo services. 
  • KLM has a fleet size of over 100, which generates €706 million operating profit for KLM Group last year, as well as €10.7 billion in revenue during the same period, according to the company’s 2022 financials. 
  • The national carrier of the Netherlands, established in 1919, has grown into an airline operator with a $66.09 million market capitalisation as of 15 June 2023. 

Other 11 international airlines in Nigeria 

  1. Asky Airline 
  2. Royal Air Maroc 
  3. Qatar Airways 
  4. Egypt Air 
  5. Air France 
  6. Etihad 
  7. Rwanda Air 
  8. Azman Air 
  9. Atlantic Express 
  10. Saudi Air 
  11. Ghana Airways 

Travel agencies in Nigeria for international flights 

There are several travel agencies in Nigeria that can cater to your international flights from Nigeria to any destination of your choice. 

Some of these travel agencies include; Jolie Global Travels and Tours Limited, Gadeshire Travels and Tours Limited, Sehembz Travels, Caham Travels and Tours Ltd, Victoriasid Global Limited, VIP Express Tourism and several more.

What are the types of travel agencies? 

Before you get on your browser to search for the aforementioned travel agencies, know that there are different types of travel agencies in the aviation sector; Wholesale Travel Agencies, Offline Travel Agencies, Niche Travel Agencies, Leisure Travel Agencies, Online Travel Agencies, and Business Travel Agencies.


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