Air Nigeria, the Nigerian national carrier, has announced the suspension of its service from London Gatwick Airport to Lagos, in Nigeria.
Air Nigeria has suspended its international flights, amidst reports of the airline being sold to a new buyer. The London Gatwick to Lagos flight had only recommenced in May this year after a gap of three years. Air Nigeria was offering passengers a daily flight to Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, from London Gatwick Airport, using an A330-200 aircraft.
The troubled airline has been struggling with a debt burden of around GBP157m, and in June 2012, most of its services had been grounded due to safety worries.
A statement issued by London Gatwick airport reads, ‘Air Nigeria has suspended operations from Gatwick airport from September 10, 2012. No further flights are currently planned. If you hold a ticket for future travel we advise you to contact your ticket agent directly for further information.’
Reports in Nigeria suggest that the airline management has suspended operations following a problem with its employees, and had terminated the employment of around 800 workers last week. The airline is, however, planning to recommence its operations within a year.
Just last week the global air transport authority, IATA, sited safety as the most pressing problem for African Aviation, with the continent’s accident record 9 times worse than the global average. 7 million jobs and nearly USD68bn of business activity is supported by Africa’s aviation industry.
Currently Nigeria has four domestic carriers operating domestic flights. The government of Nigeria is presently considering a new strategy to launch another national carrier.