Emirates To Suspend Flights Into Nigeria From September 1 Over CBN’s Refusal To Release $85m Revenue
Emirates Airline has said that it will suspend all flights operation indefinitely beginning from September 1, 2022.
The announcement is coming one month after it announced the reduction of flight operations effective August 15.
Emirates had written the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, regarding its $85m revenue trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The airline said on Thursday that no progress has been made regarding the matter, adding that this is the reason to suspend its Nigerian operation.
The UAE based airline said, “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.
“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travelers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”
Foreign exchange scarcity has forced the CBN to withhold forex revenues belonging to foreign airlines. The withheld fund stands at $450m, according to a report released by the International Air Transport Association’s Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Kamal Al Awadhi.
In July, the airline had said that on monthly basis, over $10m of its fund is trapped in Nigeria.
Emirates said, “As of July 2022, Emirates has $85m of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than $10m every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.
“We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting losses, especially in the challenging post-COVID-19 climate.
“Emirates did try to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in Naira, which would have at least reduced one element of our ongoing costs, however, this request was denied by the supplier.”