Emirates to suspend all Nigerian flights over trapped $85m revenue

By Eniola Akinkuotu
Posted on Thursday, 18 August 2022 10:20

An Emirates plane grounded during the Covid-19 pandemic at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle international airport. ©Laurent GRANDGUILLOT/REA

Emirates airlines has announced plans to stop all flights to and from Nigeria from 1 September 2022 over its inability to repatriate over $85m that has been stuck in the country for several months.

This comes barely three months after the UAE flag carrier had promised to increase its number of Nigerian flights from 12 to 22 every week.

“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,” Emirates said in a statement.

The International Air Transport Association had revealed in June that foreign airlines had been unable to repatriate about $450m from Nigeria. However, local media reports that the figure has since risen to $500m amid a rising forex scarcity.

The forex scarcity the country is facing is connected to its dwindling oil revenue. Nigeria depends on oil receipts for over 80% of its FX. However, its oil earnings have been dropping due to crude oil theft and an opaque payment of petrol subsidy.

With airline tickets sold in naira, foreign airlines usually convert the naira to dollars and then repatriate it to their home countries. However, the scarcity of Forex has made this virtually impossible.

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