Middle East Carrier, Emirates Airlines has decided to reduce its weekly frequency into the Muratla Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from 11 flights to 7 weekly flights due to blocks funds of the airline amounting to $85 million in the country.
The airline in a statement said it has continued to incur the huge loses operating into the country due to the rising cost of aviation fuel which is impacting on its operations.
The airline stated that the figure has been rising by more than $US 10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.
It said: “It is with a heavy heart that i write to inform you of planned reductions in Emirates operations to Nigeria. With effect from 15 August 2022, Emirates will be forced to reduce flights from Dubai Lagos from 11 per week to7 per week. We have had no choice but to take this action, to mitigate the continued losses Emirates is experiencing as a result of funds being blocked in Nigeria.
“As of July 2022, Emirates has USS 85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than $US 10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.
“These funds are urgently needed to meet our operational costs and maintain the commercial viability of our services to Nigeria. We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting loses, especially in the challenging post COVID-19 climate. Emirates did to stem the loses 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. This means that not only are Emirates’ revenue accumulating, we also have to send hard Currency into Nigeria to sustain our own operation.
“Meanwhile 0ur revenues are out of reach and not even earning Credit interest. Your Excellency, this is not a decision we have taken lightly. Indeed, we have made every effort to work with the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find a solution to this issue. Our Senior Vice President met with the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank in May and followed up on the meeting by letter to the Governor himself the following month, however no positive response was received. Meetings were also held with Emirates’ own bank in Nigeria and in collaboration with IATA to discuss improving FX allocation but with limited success.
“Despite our considerable efforts the situation continues to deteriorate. We are now in the unfortunate position of having to cut flights to mitigate against further losses going forward.” It said.