Emirates Airline, Thursday, announced its decision to suspend all its flights to and from Nigeria over failure to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in the most populous black nation.
The directive which is to take effect from September 1 was given to lay emphasis on the ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria and to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention, the International airline said in a statement issued on Thursday.
The statement reads, “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.
“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,” the airline disclosed.
“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.”
The New Diplomat reports that about two months ago, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) accused the Nigerian government of preventing foreign airlines from repatriating the sum of $450 million (about N188.6 billion) they had earned from ticket sales to their respective countries.
Few days later, on July 30, 2022, Emirates Airlines announced that it has reduced the number of its weekly flights from Dubai to Lagos from 11 to 7 due to issues of repatriation of its funds.
In a letter addressed to the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Emirates Airline explained that it had been attempting to repatriate the sum of $85 million which was stuck in Nigeria.
“As of July 2022, Emirates has $85m of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than $10 million every month as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate,” the letter read in part.