3-May-2010 12:06 PM

Virgin Nigeria's turnaround to take one year: new majority shareholder

Virgin Nigeria Airways' new majority shareholder, Jimoh Ibrahim, stated it would take a year to turn around the carrier and ensure it is structurally sound (AllAfrica, 30-Apr-2010). Mr Ibrahim stated changes would be implemented across the carrier's financial and administrative areas, adding that its problems are not technical but financial. The airline's name will be changed with the carrier, in the medium-term, to increase its fleet from seven to 17 aircraft, as part of efforts to strengthen its domestic operations and regional operations prior to the recommencement of international operations.

Virgin Nigeria Airways: "Normally, it takes two years to turn a company around. However, in the case of Virgin Nigeria from the diagnosis I have, we will turn it around in one year. Turn around does not mean sack and go and find out in Le'Meridian where we took over we never sack one person, go and ask. For our staff we will restructure them through training, our turnaround is financial and administrative not technical, Virgin Nigeria is not technically sick, the airline is financially sick and we don't want a financially sick airline to affect the technical health of the airline ... I am used to putting my head in troubled waters and turning things around. NICON Airways is not like Virgin Nigeria, Virgin has a structure and it has connectivity and things to build on, Virgin will survive, it's not about the profit, I am looking for the excitement ... there will be a name change and the change will reflect the integrity of our country Nigeria. I wouldn't even take the Virgin brand name even if Branson gives it for free. Like you know with everything NICON Group enters we tend to make it Nigerian in context and character and give it back to Nigerians so expect a change of name in a few weeks but you'll have to patiently wait to know the name," Jimoh Ibrahim, new majority shareholder. Source: AllAfrica, 30-Apr-2010. 

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