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Emirates to suspend all Nigerian flights over $85m

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United Arab Emirates Emirates Airlines
Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its flights from Nigeria with effect from September 1, 2022.
The decision was made as a result of the airline’s inability to repatriate its money from Nigeria.

Remember how the airline promised to lower its frequencies in Nigeria from 11 to 7 by the middle of August due to its stuck $85 million in Nigeria, according to a letter that was leaked to Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation.

ChronicleNG reports that other airlines may also follow suit as blocked funds belonging to foreign airlines have hit over $600m which they are unable to repatriate as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not meet airlines’ request for dollars.

In accordance with the bilateral air service agreements (BASAs), international airlines are expected to provide their tickets in naira while the CBN supplies the dollar equivalent for repatriation to their country of residence.

Emirates announced in a statement on Thursday morning that it will terminate all of its flights to Nigeria, though it added that it might change its mind if something constructive transpired over the next few days.

The statement said: “Emirates has explored all options to address our ongoing issues with remitting money from Nigeria, and we have made significant efforts to open communication with the appropriate authorities in hopes of eliciting their prompt intervention to aid in the discovery of workable solutions.

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“Unfortunately, no progress has been made. Therefore, in order to prevent future losses and the impact on our operational expenses that are continuing to rise in the market, Emirates has made the painful decision to halt all flights to and from Nigeria, starting 1 September 2022.

“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.”
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