Friday, March 31, 2023



Emirates: Why flight operations to Nigeria remain suspended

Emirates: Why flight operations to Nigeria remain suspended
March 17
20:49 2023

Emirates Airline says a substantial balance of its revenue trapped in Nigeria is yet to be repatriated. 

The airline, in a statement on Friday, called for a ‘committed strategy’ by the federal government to enable foreign airlines operating in the country repatriate their funds.

In November last year, Emirates suspended flights operations to Nigeria over its inability to repatriate its $85 million revenue trapped in the country.

The suspension was the second time the airline halted flights to the West African country over its unrepatriated funds — the first time was in August, 2022.


Providing updates on the matter, the aviation company said it has been five months since operations to and from Nigeria were suspended, “and during this time we have seen little progress in the clearing of our backlog of funds”.

It said 50 percent of the funds approved for clearing in its backlog is still overdue for repatriation. This is despite the $265 million the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding ticket sales.

“As of today, Emirates still has a substantial balance of blocked funds that have yet to be repatriated, and the progressive clearing [of] our backlog remains beset with constant delays,” the statement reads.


“Today, around 50 percent of the amount approved for clearing within our backlog is still overdue for repatriation.

“We have made many concerted efforts to enable a swift return to Nigeria. We had proposed a number of solutions and measures to recover our funds, and engaged in dialogue with government stakeholders and industry bodies.

“Regretfully and despite many media reports of public assurances made at the highest levels, solutions continue to be stalled.

“We acknowledge that the wider aviation industry and the local value chain it supports in Nigeria face a similar market reality. However, unless there is a committed strategy by the local authorities to deliver concrete action, air services for travellers, for businesses seeking global market opportunities and for investments – all supported through air transport and critical to Nigeria’s economic recovery — will continue to dwindle.


“We remain committed to finding a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government and Central Bank to repatriate the rest of our blocked funds in a swift manner, and provide a roadmap that includes firm measures to prevent future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays. We call on them to work with us, hand in hand, to ensure Nigerian travellers and businesses have unfettered connectivity and access to our global network.”


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