Rumours Trail Virgin Atlantic Operations In Nigeria

Rumours Trail Virgin Atlantic Operations In Nigeria

British flag carrier, Virgin Atlantic Airways, has reportedly pulled out from all Nigerian routes, signalling their disengagement from the Nigerian aviation sector. 

Rumours Trail Virgin Atlantic Operations In Nigeria
Sir Richard Branson, Owner Virgin Atlantic

The airline is yet to officially announce its decision in the media, but it has allegedly sacked all members of its Nigerian cabin crew.

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A source told The Nation that the airline has also shut down its call centre in the Ikeja axis of the Lagos metropolis.

Another source was quoted as saying the airline's decision to discontinue its operations in Nigeria might be because of the non-commitment of the Nigerian government as regards the promises made to the airline's management in the past concerning its operations.

“Virgin Atlantic Airways has laid off all its Nigerian cabin crew. They were only given three- week notice and no severance package regardless of their length of service will be paid.

“The air-hostesses they sacked were about 20 and last year, they closed down their Nigerian call centre and let go of all the Nigerian staff,” the source squealed.

The airline has in the past had issues with the Nigerian government. It will be recalled that in 2003, the government of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, invited the chairman of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sir Richard Branson to float a domestic carrier in the country, after the liquidation of Nigeria Airways.

Branson heeded the call and Virgin Nigeria Airways was set up with Virgin Atlantic as its technical partner. Six years down the line, the british carrier pulled out of the deal.

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Before he agreed to the deal, Sir Branson had in 2012 said he was very wary about doing business in Nigeria.

But the spokesperson for the airline, Kudirat Scott-Igbene has denied the report. She said the airline was only realigning its operational model in Nigeria.

“We have decided that we will no longer have crew based in Lagos. This is by no means a reflection on our Lagos based cabin crew, the primary purpose of our locally based cabin crew has been to provide cultural expertise, and customer feedback has shown us that this is no longer a requirement on the Lagos route.

“The additional complexity required to operate an international crew base where there are no foreign language requirement means it is no longer sustainable going forward.

“This announcement has no impact on our flying programme and we plan to continue flights between Lagos and London. After 14 years flying the route, we remain committed to servicing the Nigerian people, whether it be for business, family or education,” she told


Meanwhile, a domestic worker at the Lagos airport told that the stand of the airline at the airport has been empty for the past few days.

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The worker who declined to be named because she works for a rival airline said: ''Their workers have not been coming to work. And we heard that they are on strike because some of their colleagues were sacked without been paid any money.''

Efforts to get the reaction of officials of the Federal Aviation Authority in Nigeria (FAAN) proved abortive.


Jerrywright Ukwu avatar

Jerrywright Ukwu Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at

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