Virgin Nigeria rebrands as 'Nigerian Eagle Airlines'

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Virgin Nigeria has formally rebranded its operation as Nigerian Eagle Airlines, and is intending to secure a capital injection for the carrier.

The new name is part of an agreement to drop the Virgin brand following shareholder Virgin Atlantic's decision to withdraw from the airline it helped to establish.

Nigerian Eagle Airlines says the previous identity "ceases to be" and the company has taken on a new logo as part of the change.

The eagle, it adds, "typifies strength and foresight" and the choice followed intensive research into African culture. The carrier's loyalty programme is named 'Eagleflier'.

Virgin Atlantic is to shed much of its 49% stake. Nigerian Eagle says it plans to obtain additional operating funds through a private placement, although chief executive Dapo Olumide admits that lack of access to long-term capital, and expensive cost of borrowing, is a serious obstacle to the country's civil aviation development.

But he says that the carrier nevertheless has strong potential and that its executives aim to maintain the "culture of excellence" from which the airline has benefited.

"We are glad that, under the new management of the airline, we are going to fill the gaps in the aviation sector," says Olumide.

Nigerian Eagle will operate a fleet of Boeing 737 and Embraer 170/190 aircraft on a network of domestic and regional African routes.