Business Traveller

Is Nigeria the next aviation powerhouse?

CNN staff Updated 5th July 2017
(CNN) — Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, home to vast resources of minerals and oil -- and it's a burgeoning commercial hub. Could this vibrant nation be the next global aviation powerhouse?
In the latest episode of CNN Travel's Business Traveller, Richard Quest investigates this possibility.

Location, location, location

Currently, big-brand flyers including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly in and out of Nigeria. But it is domestic and pan-Africa carriers that need to take flight to consolidate Nigeria's status as a business center to be reckoned with.
The nation is ideally located for pan-African flights, but currently there are few options available. The country's new, privately run domestic terminal can handle over 4 million passengers a year, but only a handful of domestic carriers are in operation. Some 40 domestic airlines have failed in the country -- including big names such as Virgin Nigeria.
What is the problem, and how can it be solved?

Trade issues

"That's a function of trade," says Segun Demuren, CEO of EAN Aviation. "In Africa, we're still learning to trade with each other, and if you're not trading with yourselves [...] how sustainable is it?"
Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's minister of information and culture, points to corruption as the source, arguing this needs to be halted before the airlines can take flight. "The big picture [...] is to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria so we can attract more people with business and tourists," Mohammed tells CNN.
For now, it's private jets that dominate the country's air space, but experts hope new opportunities will arise in the coming years.
Initially plying domestic routes in Tanzania, fastjet started small in 2011, but has since expanded to four other countries. With Ed Winter, a former easyJet executive at the helm, it's looking to break into the lucrative South African domestic market.
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