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Emirates Airline Suspends Nigerian Flights Indefinitely Due To $700m Trapped Funds

Emirates has suspended inbound and outbound Nigeria flight operations indefinitely.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) carrier, Emirates Airline has suspended its flights to Nigeria indefinitely due to its trapped funds which it could not repatriate.

Emirates Airline Suspends Nigerian Flights Indefinitely Due To $700m Trapped Funds

Emirates Airline Suspend Nigerian Flights Indefinitely

KanyiDaily recalls that Emirates had earlier suspended its flight on September 1, but reinstated it after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the release of $260m to clear part of the outstanding funds now estimated to be over $700m.

Emirates disclosed that despite promises of allocation by CBN, nothing has been done about the trapped funds which is still rising, hitting $700 million, about 51 percent from the $346 million in September 2022.

The Dubai-based airline in a statement on Thursday said it had no option but to suspend flights to and from Nigeria to mitigate against further losses moving forward.

The statement reads, “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.

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“We have officially communicated our position and attended multiple hearings with the Nigerian government, and we have made our proposed approach clear to alleviate this untenable situation, including a plan for the progressive release of our funds.

“This included the repatriation and receipt of at least 80 percent of our remaining blocked funds by the end of October 2022, in addition to providing a guaranteed mechanism to avoid future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays.

“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.

“We hope to reach a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government around the repatriation of blocked funds to enable the resumption of operations and connectivity for travellers and businesses.”

Emirates flight’s suspension comes a week after the UAE authorities suspended visa issuance to Nigerians visiting Dubai, which has further reduced the load factors of airlines.

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