Foreign airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria hit $464m in July, says IATA

Desmond Okon

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) says foreign airlines’ funds being withheld in Nigeria increased from $450 million in May to $464 million in July.

IATA said this in a series of tweets on Thursday.

The figure grew by $14 million from the $450 million said to be withheld in May.

The international association said Nigeria’s position towards the repatriation of the funds was disappointing.


“IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July,” it said.

“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 realise revenue from ticket sales. Loss of connectivity harms the economy, hurts investor confidence, impacts jobs and people’s lives.”

IATA, therefore, urged the government of Nigeria to prioritise the release funds “before more damage is done.”

TheCable had reported on the negative impact of the continued restriction of access to the funds.

On Thursday, Emirates Airlines announced the suspension of its flight operations to Nigeria, starting from September 1, 2022.

Last month, the airline asked Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, to support the repatriation of its revenue, amounting to $85 million and further reduced its operations to the country.

Nigeria is facing a forex exchange crisis and this has seen the naira depreciate against the dollar.

The federal government had said it could not release the funds due to the foreign exchange crisis.

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