There are indications that the failure of Emirates Airlines to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in Nigeria back to its home country in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may have led to the carrier’s decision to stop all flights in and out of the country.
The airline in a statement on Thursday morning said that it would suspend flights from Nigeria effective September 1, 2022.
At least, $600 million of over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
Emirates had about two weeks ago said that out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria.
The airline had on Monday cut its 11 weekly frequencies into Lagos Airport to just seven.
A statement by the media consultant to the airline in Nigeria alleged that all efforts to repatriate the funds had proved abortive and it was compelled to take the decision of suspending all flights into the country.
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.”