Virgin Nigeria to be merged with NICON Airways
Virgin Nigeria's new owner and Group MD of NICON Group, Jimoh Ibrahim, stated he plans to change the name of his newly acquired airline in a matter of days and merge NICON Airways with Virgin Nigeria (Business Day Online, 29-Apr-2010). He added the immediate plan was to stabilise the airline with seven aircraft and raise the number to 17 in the short-term to support the relaunch of international services.
NICON Group: “The deal for Virgin Nigeria had been on since 2009, but you know its not every deal that you put on the pages of newspapers when you are yet to conclude it. In that very year 2009, if I had wanted to make NICON to be flying with all the aircraft, we would have done so. Remember, NICON Airways operated for 16 months but we felt that let us quickly look at this deal, and then we can then have a merger later and then we can move on. But if I had made up my mind and said ‘we don’t want Virgin Nigeria, let me use the money for NICON Airways’, may be that would have been a different thing, may be also we would not have issues with NICON. The Virgin deal started in 2009 and it went back and forth till it closed last Friday ... There will be a name change, that can never be ruled out. The name change will reflect the integrity of our nation. If I buy any foreign company, forget about brand or no brand, whatever the brand, I will change it to reflect a Nigerian name. Even if Virgin gives me their brand for free, I will not take it, I will still use my local name and in a matter of days, it will be made public”, Jimoh Ibrahim, MD. Source: Business Day Online, 29-Apr-2010.