There are indications that Emirates Airlines’ failure to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in Nigeria to its home country of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have resulted in the carrier’s decision to suspend all flights into and out of the country.
On Thursday morning, the airline announced that it would stop operating flights from Nigeria as of September 1, 2022.
Over 20 foreign airlines worth at least $600 million have had their flights to Nigeria blocked since the year’s beginning.
About two weeks ago, Emirates stated that it had $85 million in Nigeria out of these funds.
On Monday, the airline reduced from 11 to just 7 weekly frequencies into Lagos Airport.
According to a statement by the airline’s media consultant in Nigeria, all attempts to repatriate the funds had failed, forcing the airline to decide to halt all flights there.
The airline’s statement on Thursday 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 September 1 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.”