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Aviation Crisis: Emirates suspends flights to Nigeria over ‘blocked’ funds

*Emirates Airlines says the aviation company has yet to receive an allocation of its blocked funds to be repatriated, stating ‘we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Emirates Airlines, again, has suspended flight operations to Nigeria over the West African country’s inability to repatriate blocked funds.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airline, in a statement issued Thursday, November 3, 2022, said the suspension became effective from October 29 this year.

According to Emirates Airlines, the aviation firm has communicated its position to the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) respectively.

It is recalled that Emirates, August 2022, had suspended flights to the country over its $85 million said to have been a blocked revenue.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also said that foreign airlines had not been unable to repatriate $464million from Nigeria.

However, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, at the time assured of the release of $265 million to foreign airlines to offset part of the trapped funds in the economy.

The company noted: “However, Emirates has yet to receive an allocation of our blocked funds to be repatriated.

“Without the timely repatriation of the funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds does not accumulate in any way, the backlog will continue to grow, and we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria.”

The statement also said: “We have officially communicated our position and attended multiple hearings with the Nigerian government, and we have made our proposed approach clear to alleviate this untenable situation, including a plan for the progressive release of our funds.

“This included the repatriation and receipt of at least 80% of our remaining blocked funds by the end of October 2022, in addition to providing a guaranteed mechanism to avoid future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays.”

The airline further: “Under these extraordinary circumstances Emirates had no option but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria from 29 October 2022 to mitigate against further losses moving forward.”

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