This is awkward, kind of.
Nigeria's government, on 18 July 2018, publicly announced its plans to soon launch a national airline. The airline, Nigeria Air, is expected to be launched by the end of 2018. The announcement was made by Sirika Hadi, Nigeria's Minister of Aviation, at the Farnborough Airshow in London during a press conference.
"I am pleased to tell you that we are finally on track to launching a new national flag carrier for our country: Nigeria Air," said Hadi.
How a Nigeria Air airplane is expected to look like once launched later in 2018, as presented by Sirika Hadi (Nigeria's Minister of Aviation).
Nigeria Air domains not owned by the government
Now comes the interesting part.
Nigeria's government, in their planning and branding processes (branding which was presented by Minister Hadi), seems to have overlooked registering the relevant and more important domain names for the "Nigeria Air" brand. The three most important ones - NigeriaAir.com, NigeriaAir.ng, and NigeriaAir.com.ng - are all not owned by Nigeria's government at the time of publishing.
According to publicly available WHOIS records, NigeriaAir.com is registered and owned by a certain "J H Kim" from the Republic of Korea. Interestingly, NigeriaAir.com was first registered in 2004.
Screenshot of NigeriaAir.com.
Also, at the time of publishing this article, NigeriaAir.com was using a domain parking service with a message that the owner could be interested in selling the domain.
It gets even more interesting when we looked into NigeriaAir.ng and NigeriaAir.com.ng, which are both not active. Both websites, according to WHOIS records, were registered on Wednesday, 18 July 2018. That's the same day that Nigeria's Minister of Aviation announced the west Afrikan country's plans to launch Nigeria Air before the end of 2018. What is even more interesting is that both Nigeria Air domains with a Nigeria top-level domain (TLD) name are registered by Olumayowa Elegbede, who iAfrikan managed to briefly speak to confirm he indeed registered the domains (which he did). Furthermore, since registering them, Elegbede has also put both domains up for sale.
It doesn't end there.
In May 2014, ICANN made the.FLIGHTS TLD available for general public registration. The TLD is usually used by airlines, travel agencies and other aviation and travel related organizations. It turns out, Nigeria's government didn't register NigeriaAir.flights as well (or at least until 21 July 2018). According to WHOIS records, NigeriaAir.FLIGHTS was only registered on 21 July 2018, THREE DAYS AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT! Also, NigeriaAir.flights uses Nigeria's WhoGoHost's nameservers, suggesting that perhaps it was also registered by someone in Nigeria. Maybe even by the government, but at the time of publishing I couldn't confirm this (or not) and will update as new information becomes available.
Other domains for Nigeria Air
Of course, you could say all is not lost as Nigeria's government could go on to register different domains using a derivative of the name like for example Nigeria-Air.com. However, that specific domain name is already registered. It was registered on 8 July 2018 using GoDaddy and it currently redirects to an auto-generated GoDaddy page.
What about FlyNigeriaAir.com?
Screenshot of FlyNigeriaAir.com, which was registered by Philip Obin.
Well, that was also registered on the same day as the announcement on 18 July 2018 by Lagos resident, Philip Obin. Obin has also put up the domain for sale (wouldn't you?).
At this stage, it became more and clearer to me that it is highly probable that Nigeria's government, nor the Minister of Aviation and his team, registered any notable (if at all) domains for the soon to be launched Nigeria Air. Given the launch is set to be before the end of 2018, just slightly over 6 months away, this likely also increases the prices that the various domain owners will demand.
After finding that FlyNigeriaAir.com is also registered by a private individual and it is up for sale, I stopped searching because I dey tire.
Perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the government did register a domain name we are not aware of. If that's the case and if you know any further information that can shed some light on this, leave a comment below or e-mail us or contact us on Twitter.