Emirates suspends flights to Nigeria over $85m trapped funds
Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its flight operations to Nigeria, starting September 1, 2022.
The airline disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, citing the inability to repatriate its earnings in foreign exchange from Nigeria.
Recalls that in July, Emirates asked Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, to support the repatriation of its revenue, amounting to $85 million.
Nigeria is facing a forex exchange crisis and this has also affected the nation’s local currency — Naira — to depreciate against the dollar.
The airline said the suspension would “limit further losses and reduce the impact on its operational costs that continue to accumulate in the Nigerian market”.
“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 the statement.
“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 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.”
In May, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) lamented the inability of foreign airlines to repatriate about $450 million in earnings in Nigeria.