EMIRATES Airlines has suspended flight operations to and from Nigeria effective October 29, 2022.
A statement by the airline forwarded to The ICIR said that it had tried to receive the remainder of its blocked funds in Nigeria but could not access it till date, even after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) promised to intervene.
The statement read in part, “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.
“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.”
Emirates had on August 18, 2022, announced a stoppage of all its flights from Nigeria with effect from September 1, 2022, due to challenges it said it was experiencing in repatriating its funds.
According to the airline, it had unsuccessfully been attempting to repatriate the sum of $85 million of ticket sales it alleged was stuck in Nigeria.
“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,” the statement said
Nonetheless, the airline hoped to reach a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government on the repatriation of the blocked funds to enable the resumption of flight operations.