The name is known worldwide, but the initiative is much more modest. United Nigeria is the newest airline in the African country and is preparing to start domestic flights in the last quarter of the year. Detail: with a fleet of Embraer ERJ-145 jets.
The initiative, however, has few known details. On the website, the company claims to be 100% Nigerian and founded in 1990. Among the destinations to be offered are the capital Lagos and the cities of Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Asaba, Owerri and Enugu.
The only information about the fleet is an image showing four ERJ-145 jets with the airline’s livery. One of the planes has registration N12567 and was operated by Aerovision International, from the US until a year ago when it was stored in Mexico. The aircraft was originally delivered to ExpressJet Airlines in 2002 and which operated it with Continental paint, currently United Airlines.
According to the local press, United Nigeria belongs to billionaire Dr Obiorah Okonkwo, who owns an event center in Abuja and who appears in photos next to one of Embraer’s jets.
United Nigeria is not an isolated initiative in the country. Commercial aviation has received significant investments in recent years as today only 5% of Nigerians use air transport.
The country’s largest airline, Air Peace, has only 25 planes, of which seven ERJ-145s. The company recently announced an order for four new generation E195-E2 jets also from Embraer.
The most ambitious Nigerian project, however, is Green Africa Airways, which earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for the acquisition of 50 A220-300 after canceling a similar order for 737 MAX with Boeing.
The Lagos-based company is owned by Babawande Afolabi, but until recently it was still awaiting the operation certificate from the government of Nigeria. Until August, the order for 50 planes had not yet been made official by Airbus.