Emirates Airline, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has suspended inbound and outbound Nigeria flight operations indefinitely. This comes just seven weeks after the airline resumed operations in the country after failing to repatriate over $85 million in revenue generated by air ticket sales.

Why this is happening
Despite the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the volume of trapped funds is still rising, reaching $700 million, up 51 percent from $346 million in September 2022.

Foreign airlines collect Naira from customers and exchange it for foreign currency to fund their operations. However, they recently stated that they were unable to complete the exchange through the official foreign exchange market due to a lack of foreign exchange resources.

CBN’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated that he is doing everything in order to provide dollars for the airline. Despite CBN’s promises of allocation, the company stated that nothing has been done.

What they said
“Emirates has continued to actively seek a solution for the repatriation of the remainder of its blocked funds in Nigeria,” the statement said. We were encouraged by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts to review our request, and we anticipated that this critical issue would be resolved quickly with the subsequent clearance of our remaining funds.

“However, Emirates has yet to be allocated an allocation of our frozen funds for repatriation.” Without timely repatriation of funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds does not accumulate in any way, the backlog will grow, and we will simply be unable to meet our operational costs or maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria.

What should you know
Emirates airlines, located in Dubai, suspended flights to and from Nigeria in September. The suspension was due to its inability to repatriate money owed to it by Nigerian authorities in US dollars. They later resumed when promises were made about the situation. 

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