Aviation photographers in Nigeria

There are very few aviation photographers in Nigeria. Some excellent series of pictures were made by Ken Iwelumo (click here and here) and Akinwale Makinde (click here and here) over the past years, despite the restrictions on photographing at Nigerian airports. Hopefully, more aviation enthusiasts will be able to share the Nigerian aviation scene with the wider world in the near future.

Virgin Nigeria's fleet at Lagos Airport (copyright Ken Iwelumo)

Virgin Nigeria’s fleet at Lagos Airport (copyright Ken Iwelumo)

Old Kaduna Airport  (copyright Akinwale Makinde)

Old Kaduna Airport (copyright Akinwale Makinde)

Blogger Chippla Vandu wrote a nice piece on spotting at Lagos in the 1990s a couple of years ago.


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25 responses to “Aviation photographers in Nigeria”

  1. skywalker says :

    Spotting in Nigeria would have been an excellent hobby but for the numerous security agencies at the airport with their 1960’s idea of security. My dad had to ask me once why KLM crew warned passenger on disembarking at Abuja not to take pictures at the terminal. I am sure one would have to get clearance from Airport Commandant, AVSEC, Police or even the Ministry to be on the ramp to take pictures. I am Hoping to start a blog if I can get a job with any Local airline dedicated to Nigerian Aviation. A job should give me an edge over the average plane spotter.

  2. Eze says :

    4 years ago after disembarking at Abuja’s international terminal from an Arik 737, I snapped about 10 pictures. but made sure they were all from the vantage point of the doorway leading into baggage reclaim.. Sure enough a security officer saw me from about 50m snd started waving agressively. I played dumb (being an oyibo) and gave him a thumb up, and ran into the arrival hall hoping he wouldnt pursue me.. It worked. Search my pics on Flixkr (naijapics).

  3. Eze says :

    Does anybody know what happened to Akinwale Makinde? Some years ago I heard a rumor that he died in a Helicopter crash (pilot) I hope this was just a rumor, anybody? His pics upload on aviation.net ended abruptly.

    • LAF says :

      Hope he’s alive and well. His picture taking seemed to stop roughly since his swith from AC to Caverton. So, maybe he just got much too busy to keep up with the hobby.

  4. Igbosere bomber says :

    Mr Iwelumo and Captain Makinde have lots of really nice pictures, with permission how about people posting pictures on here as well, I have lots I’d be happy to share.
    I just read a thread on airliners.net which stated that KLAX allows spotters charter helicopters and fly between the runways to take pictures, how cool is that?
    Here’s a Lufthansa 748 taken from overhead the airport at 1500ft

    • LAF says :

      The NAA can make some extra money if they care to be open enough to some good ideas.

      Was anyone here ever pivileged to have gone on the terrace of the D-pier at Lagos in the early years before security changed everything? Besides opening day in 1979, how was this deck used and by when when did it get closed permanently?

      • Igbosere bomber says :

        I did! Long forgotten memories you’ve helped me remember. Thank You :)

      • LAF says :

        You did! Lucky fella. you didn’t happen to have a camera and take pictures, did you? Access was gratis at the time I guess or for a small fee? i’ll see about posting a very poor photo of the opening day sometime.

        For those willing and it’s too much of a hassle mustering courage to taking pictures with some stealth, you could always try airfield shots from across the perimeter from the rooftops of surrounding property. With a good tele lens, you can capture a rich mix of airside action, which amazingly is still very scarce

        This ain’t North Korea, our dear authorities..

  5. LAF says :

    Some heritage vitamines.

    Pleasantly surprised by our dear Princess (not the Minister, although she’s nice too, with all her good transformation work she’s doing :-)) in this classic Ad:-


    It still needs some work to track down Nigeria Airways own ads from various national and international publications as well as ads of aircraft manufacturers featuring the airline.

  6. Igbosere bomber says :

    That’s a really old school ad right there, the DC-10 looks like it was cut out and pasted on the paper :D

    • LAF says :

      Those were the days before Photoshop.
      Of course that’s a real air to air photo. The missing titles coudl have all sorts of reasons. but that scheme so simple yet still so instantly recognziable as ever. Let’s hope that Nigeria Airways will return properly soon and that we get back to a national airline system, with the complete food chain of components that make a world leading carrier.

      Try as I may, I’m somehow still not ‘feeling’ the current set.

  7. LAF says :

    Anyone out there in possession of any official MDC photos be my guest and share.There’s a famous black and white air to air pre-delivery photo of 5N-ANN with the horizontal Skypower logo before the revision in an old Janes almanac/encyclopaedia. That almanac is itself a collectors item and hard to get hold of today. My last sighting of it is inching towards a decade ago already.

  8. Igbosere bomber says :

    I was just a twee lad in those days but the fire was already burning bright :)
    Spotting can still be done at the GAT, there is a building overlooking the ramp that gives you a good view of airplanes landing on 18L
    In addition pilots have great opportunities to take some fantastic shots by virtue of their access but unfortunately we have a lot of pilots and not many aviators nowadays

    • Skywalker says :

      I think thats the observation deck near Arik operations. A friend working at the airport wanted to take me there but was also worried about dealing with security. Else where aviation access is open to all. Go to radarbox24.com search for any busy airport say EHAM (amsterdam) and watch live ADSB traffic to add the immersion value visit EHAM live ATC feed on liveatc.net and you practically see and hear what the airtraffic controller see’s and hears. My fellow Nigerians will never allow this.

      • LAF says :

        Would that be disallowed on security grounds or just plain old buhness?

      • Naijajet says :

        Used to tap and listen to 124.7&118.9 all day when I was on holiday as a kid leaving close to the threshold of the the 01R. heard so great airmen then and was on air when some terrible incidents happened. I also visit flightradar24.com and liveatc.com interesting site too.. But nothing beats live spotting with radio access.

    • Alaba says :

      Igbosere B

      I’ve just seen your above posting. Interested in what your last line means……

  9. LAF says :

    Unsolved puzzle.
    Why did Arik cancel rather than defer the 777s?
    The waiting list is really long for a 300ER, so to cancel, they must have a good reason for this. Any clue who took their order slots?

    • Aviation in Nigeria says :

      No money to pay them. Boeing even offered Arik early slots back in 2009, but they took the A345.

      • LAF says :


        Read another way, they won’t be developing any strong long haul routes anytime soon. Houston and West Coast USA, mainland Europe, East Africa and Asia are on hold? They better then just concentrate on becoming either a purely domestic specialist or at most with a bit of regional coverage, because at this rate, they don’t seem likely to be playing in the Champions League for years to come. Best case scenario is maybe a type of Virgin Atlantic. We wil still need Nigeria Airways redesigned and resurrected. FG.: it’s drawing board and lab time.

        How’s this for a decent Nigeria Airways Intercontinental network in 1980? Like they say, retention is better than recovery.


        By the way, your choice of favicon is very smart one. No other blog that creative. I would swap the logo for one fo the best ones as that Wikipedia one doesen’t do enough justice to the great istitution. A possible spare time project will be to redo the graphics and update that on Wiki, if others don’t beat me to it (indirect suggestion ;-))

  10. Alaba says :

    I’ve laid hands on stacks of Aircraft Illustrated magazines from the 1960s, one of which has a great article on the Biafran Air Force accompanied by 4 pictures. I can scan this article and upload it to the blog. Any potential problems (political etc) with that?

  11. LAF says :

    Here’s the opening day image at Lagos http://t.co/37Qfcs2R with the inaugral Nigeria Airways arrival at D41. Make the most of the quality.

  12. Alaba says :

    I’m struggling to upload the Biafran Air Force article and pictures as well as one of Dantata’s HS 125s in 1969. Soon as I get my head round the tech issues, will upload.

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