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IATA expresses disappointment over $464m foreign airlines’ blocked funds


The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has expressed disappointment with Nigerian government for the continual withholding of foreign airlines’ revenues, which has prompted Emirates to stop flying to Nigeria’.

Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, said on Thursday that the fund grew to $464 million in July, urging government to prioritize the release of the funds.

“IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July. This is airline money and its repatriation is protected by international agreements in which Nigeria participates. IATA’s many warnings that failure to restore timely repatriation will hurt Nigeria with reduced air connectivity are proving true with the withdrawal of Emirates from the market.

“Airlines cannot be expected to fly if they cannot realize the revenue from ticket sales. Loss of air connectivity harms the local economy, hurts investor confidence, impacts jobs and peoples livelihoods. It’s time for the Government of Nigeria to prioritize the release of airline funds before more damage is done.”, he said.

Emirates airline had said it will from September 1, 2022, suspend all flights into Nigeria over its inability to repatriate $85 million trapped in Nigeria.

Read also: Emirates invests $2bn to create new in-flight experience

A statement from Emirates Airlines said the decision to suspend flights from Nigeria was to avoid continuous losses being incurred as a result of the situation.

“Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution. Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.

”We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.

”Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”, the airline said.



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