Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country as well as a burgeoning commercial hub. Could it be the next global aviation powerhouse? In the latest episode of CNN Travel’s Business Traveller, Richard Quest investigates this possibility.
Quest notes, “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 centre to be reckoned with.”
Although Nigeria is ideally located for pan-African flights, there are currently few options available. Only a handful of domestic carriers are in operation in the country and around 40 domestic airlines have failed there in the past, including names such as Virgin Nigeria.
Some of the issues identified are around the difficulty of trading.
“That’s a function of trade,” says Segun Demuren, CEO of EAN Aviation says on the show. “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.
Although private jets currently dominate in Nigeria, experts hope more options will open up in the near future.