Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Last published date:


Unit: USD millions

Total Market Size for Aviation






2022 (Estimated)

Total Market Size





Total Local Production





Total Exports*





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Exchange rate: 1 USD





Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports) 

Data Sources:  Estimates are based on qualitative research done with Industry contacts and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), UN COMTRADE and Operators in aviation sector

Imports from U.S.: U.S. Census Bureau 

Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics 

* Primarily re-export of aviation related equipment (e.g., planes, plane parts, helicopter and helicopter parts) to other countries.

Air travel in Nigeria is bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the carriers are not back to their pre-COVID-19 volumes, they have shown signs of recovery. Air carriers have increased connectivity within Nigeria, including to remote airports. The number of passengers who travelled through domestic and international airports in Nigeria in 2021 was 15.23 million, up 45.32% from 2020 (10.48 million).

However, there are fears that the sector may not sustain the growth considering the rising cost of aviation fuel (known as Jet A1). Other macroeconomic issues, including inflation at 17% and scarcity of foreign currency, led to an 115% increase in air ticket prices in 2021.

United Nigeria Airlines and Green Africa Airways commenced operations in 2021. Four new airlines are projected to begin operations in the undetermined future (Value Jet, NG Eagle, Rano Air, and Northeast Shuttle). According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), 23 airlines are seeking approval to operate within Nigeria.

From the public sector, the Nigerian government is still exploring the possibility of launching a new Nigerian national carrier, Nigeria Air after the collapse of Nigerian Airways in 2003. The new Nigeria Air was announced at the Farnborough Air Show in 2018.  Nigeria Air received the Air Transport License (ATL) in June 2022 and is seeking its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) before commencing flights. In September 2022, Ethiopian Airlines emerged as core investor in Nigeria Air with 49% shareholding, while the government of Nigeria retains 5% stake and Nigerian Sovereign Fund will own 46%, based on a joint venture agreement. If expansion plans return to pre-COVID-19 levels, that would necessitate the purchase of approximately 30 aircrafts.

Nigeria is governed by the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As such, U.S. manufacturers and suppliers in this sector have a competitive advantage since their products are already compliant with the safety standards imposed by these organizations.

Through the Ministry of Aviation and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Nigerian government focused on funding the country’s air infrastructure. The government approved the concession of some of the nation’s airports and has invited private sector stakeholders to bid. The government has embarked on a phased upgrade of aviation infrastructure and equipment. These upgrade projects were initiated in 2018 through the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) and prioritized Lagos and Abuja due to their traffic volume.

The Nigerian government’s 2022 budget provides for key infrastructure expenditures across various airports including: construction of control towers at major airports (Enugu, Minna, Port Harcourt, Katsina, Kebbi, Jos, and Benin); runway refurbishment at the Enugu airport; cargo terminal development across eight airports; completion of Anambra State International Airport; supply of conveyor belts; and the upgrade of airport tower voice communications control systems (VCCS) radios across 13 airports. 

NAMA has made provisions for projects involving the optimization of nationwide airspace surveillance and aircraft control. Additionally, procurement is underway for navigation aids and equipment (CAT-III) at the Kano, Katsina, and Port Harcourt airports. At the Lagos and Abuja airports, the Nigerian government plans to upgrade the CAT-II instrument Landing Systems to CAT-III Instrument Landing Systems. The Nigerian government also announced plans to upgrade the presidential fleet with state-of-the art communication equipment.

U.S.-origin planes continue to lead aircraft used in Nigeria in both the commercial and government subsectors. Nigeria took possession of 12 Super Tucano A-29 light attack aircraft purchased from the U.S. in 2018. The Nigerian military uses these aircraft to aid operations against the ongoing insurgency in the country’s northeast. The footprint of U.S.-origin equipment in the Nigerian aviation sector was assisted by the delivery of a full flight a Boeing B737-NG flight simulator to the aviation college in June 2020.

Airlines in Nigeria operate different Boeing series planes (737s-700 and 800 series, 777s-300 series, Gulfstream 500 and 600 series, civilian and military Bell helicopters). As of 2021, over 60% of aircraft in Nigeria are of U.S.-origin and produced by Boeing. The supply chain for these aircraft can vary. While some operators purchase directly from manufacturers (new or used), others buy used from dealers. 

Leading Subsectors

A key subsector within aviation is the provision of services to airline operators, such as training, maintenance services, and on-ground handling services.

Aircraft training and maintenance services include the provision of flight simulators and personnel training services. Stakeholders in the Nigerian aviation sector indicate interest in attracting international companies to provide maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facilities in the country, with Lagos or Abuja being the most viable locations, given the high passenger traffic.

There is also a growing need for more advanced on-ground handling and other airport equipment, such as cargo and passenger scanners. The market for passenger and cargo security scanners was estimated $7.7 billion in 2019, according to market research firm Insight Partners.

For more information, e-mail: Banksharon Nwaneri., U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Nigeria at