By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its air flight to Nigeria with effect from Sept 1, 2022, citing its inability to repatriate its funds trapped in Nigeria.
At least, $600 million of over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
According to Emirates, out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria. The funds are proceeds of its ticket sales in Nigeria which it claims it has tried to repatriate back to its country, United Arab Emirates unsuccessfully.
The airline in a statement on Thursday morning said it is left only with the option of suspending its flight to Nigeria from September 1.
The statement by its media consultant said the airline has approached relevant government authorities to this effect without any progress.
The statement read in part, ”Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
”Regrettably, there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective September 1 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.
”Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. 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.”
All efforts to reach the Federal Ministry of Aviation for a comment on the development proved abortive as at the moment of this report.