Emirates suspends flights to and from Nigeria over blocked funds
Dubai-based Emirates Airline suspended flights to and from Nigeria from October 29 over blocked funds, the airline’s spokesperson has confirmed, Zawya reports.
“Emirates has continued to actively seek a solution for the repatriation of the remainder of its blocked funds in Nigeria. We were encouraged by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts of reviewing our request, and considered that this critical issue would be swiftly resolved with the subsequent clearance of our remaining funds,” the spokesperson told Khaleej Times in a statement.
“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 do 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 carrier and the West African country have been in tug of war over Abuja’s refusal to let the airline repatriate proceedings estimated at multiple millions of dollars.
“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 per cent 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 flights were suspended under “these extraordinary circumstances” to mitigate against further losses.
“We hope to reach a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government around the repatriation of blocked funds to enable the resumption of operations and connectivity for travelers and businesses,” the Emirates spokesperson added.