Middle East Carrier, Emirates Airlines has said the airline will suspend all its flights operations into Nigeria from the 1st of September 2022, follow the airline’s inability to repatriate its funds of about $100 million trapped in the country.
According to atqnew.com, the airline had earlier reduced it flight frequency into Nigeria from 11 to 7 times a week, saying that it has continued to incur huge loses operating into the country due to the rising cost of aviation fuel which is impacting on its operations.
Emirates said the figure which previously stood at $85m, 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.
According to prnomics.com, Emirates in a statement said: “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 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 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.”
Emirates trapped funds in Nigeria is almost $100 million
In an earlier letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika by Emirates airline’s divisional senior vice-president (DSVP), international affairs, Sheik Majid Al Mualla confirmed that:
“As of July 2022, Emirates has US$ 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 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.
“This means that not only are Emirates’ revenues accumulating, we also have to send hard currency into Nigeria to sustain our own operation. Meanwhile, our revenues are out of reach, and not even earning credit interest.”