The International Aviation Association, IATA, has expressed disappointment over the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian Government, totalling the sum of $464 million in July.
IATA, in a series of twits on its official Twitter handle, @IATA, on Thursday, said the Nigerian Government failed to heed its many warnings that failure to restore timely repatriation will hurt the country with reduced air connectivity.
According to the association, the recent withdrawal of Emirates Airlines from the Nigerian market is a proof that it’s warning that foreign airlines may withdraw flight service to Nigeria if their trapped funds are not repatriated is coming true.
“IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the #Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July. #blockedfunds.
“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 can’t be expected to fly if they can’t realize revenue from ticket sales. Loss of connectivity harms the economy, hurts investor confidence, impacts jobs and people’s lives.
“The Government of Nigeria needs to prioritize the release funds before more damage is done,” IATA said.
Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines has announced that it would suspend all flights to Nigeria from September 1, 2022.
The Middle East mega carrier is owed over $95 million in Nigeria, which it cannot repatriate due to foreign exchange scarcity.
“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,” the airline said in a statement.