IATA expresses disappointment in Nigerian govt over funds unpaid

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has expressed disappointment in the Nigerian government over the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation.

IATA said that the amount blocked by the Nigerian government has grown to $464 million in July.

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IATA, in a statement by its Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Alawahdi, on Thursday, took a swipe at the Federal Government for continually denying the airlines the right to repatriate the funds back to their home countries.

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

“This is airline money, and its repatriation is protected by international agreements in which Nigeria participates. 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 cannot be expected to fly if they cannot realize the revenue from ticket sales. Loss of air connectivity harms the local economy, hurts investor confidence, and impacts jobs and people’s livelihoods. It’s time for the Government of Nigeria to prioritize the release of airline funds before more damage is done.”

IATA’s leadership, at its recent Annual General Meeting in Doha, Qatar, lamented how the inability of the airlines to repatriate their funds had affected their operational cost.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Emirates Airlines had suspended air flights to Nigeria.

Emirates airline, in a statement on Thursday morning, said that it would suspend flights from Nigeria effective September 1, 2022.

At least $600 million from over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.

Emirates had about two weeks ago said out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria.

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