Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aviation. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

E-gates to be installed at all international airports in Nigeria

Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior has announced that biometric e-gates are currently being installed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja and at the e-border data and control center at the Nigeria Immigration Service headquarters.

Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, honorable minister of interior, said e-gates will be installed across all five of Nigeria’s international airports, providing Nigerians with streamlined arrival while the e-border system will enhance national security.

As of February 19, four out of the planned 10 gates have been installed at the airport. It is expected that the remaining six gates will be operational before the end of the month.

Dr Tunji-Ojo said the new gates will reduce waiting times for arriving passengers. “With an impressive clearance time of just 30 seconds per individual, the gates are set to establish a new standard for efficiency in airport processing, comparable to global benchmarks.”

They are also designed to enhance national security by providing an additional layer of scrutiny for inbound travelers. “Through advanced biometric scanning and automated flagging systems, the gates will swiftly identify individuals of interest or those on watchlists, bolstering the efforts of the Nigeria Immigration Service to safeguard the nation’s borders,” the minister said.

In total, the nationwide project aims to deliver a total of 40 e-verification gates across multiple airports by the end of the first quarter. These installations will include 10 gates in Abuja, 17 in Lagos, five in Kano and four each in Enugu and Port Harcourt.

By Kylie Bielby, Passenger Terminal Today 

Related story: Video - Aviation sector sees record growth in Nigeria

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Ban lifted on Nigerian Travelers to UAE After president Tinubu’s Visit

The United Arab Emirates will lift a visa ban placed on Nigerian travelers almost a year ago following an agreement with President Bola Tinubu, who is on a visit to the Middle Eastern nation.

As part of the agreement with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline will resume flights to and from the West African nation, said Ajuri Ngelale, spokesman for Nigeria’s president, in an emailed statement on Monday.

“This immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” he said.

Emirates suspended flights to Nigeria last year over challenges in repatriating funds from the West African nation and Etihad at the start of the pandemic.

Separately, Nigeria was among 20 African countries that the UAE placed visa restrictions on in October without giving a reason.

The deal comes as Tinubu, who was sworn in as president on May 29, has initiated several reforms to attract investment including ending costly gasoline subsidies and easing foreign-exchange controls that led to dollar shortages.

The two nations also agreed to a foreign exchange liquidity program that will be announced in the coming weeks and a framework that will result “in billions of US dollars worth of new investments into the Nigerian economy across multiple sectors,” Ngelale said.

By Ruth Olurounbi, Reuters

Friday, August 25, 2023

President Tinubu orders immediate resolution to disagreement with Emirates Airline

Nigeria's president, Bola Tinubu, has ordered an immediate resolution to disagreements with Emirates Airline (EMIRA.UL) and visa issuance by the United Arab Emirates, the president's spokesman said on Thursday.

The UAE stopped issuing visas to Nigerians last year after Dubai's Emirates suspended flights due to an inability to repatriate funds from Africa's biggest economy.

Tinubu's office said in a statement on Thursday that he met with the UAE's ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Saeed Al-Shamsi, and that Tinubu is prepared to "personally" intervene in the dispute.

"We must work together. We need to agree on core aviation and immigration issues," Tinubu said in the statement.

Al-Shamsi was quoted in the same statement as saying; "We are getting somewhere. These are small issues, all within a family, and they will be resolved."

Emirates Airline said in March it has "substantial" revenue trapped in Nigeria and has made slow progress in repatriating the blocked funds.

Nigeria has withheld at least $743 million in revenue earned by international carriers operating in the country, global airline industry association IATA said in March.

Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer, faces shortages of foreign currency despite some reforms.

The dollar shortages have made it difficult for some foreign

airlines that sold tickets in the Nigerian naira currency to get their money out of the country.

By Felix Onuah, Reuters

Friday, August 11, 2023

Video - Nigeria Air to be operational fourth quarter of 2023

After much delay, Nigeria Air is expected to begin operations later this year. The new air carrier is partnering with Ethiopian Airlines, which predicts Nigeria Air will help grow Nigeria’s GDP, expand the hospitality and tourist sectors, and add jobs.


Friday, July 14, 2023

Video - Aviation sector sees record growth in Nigeria

A report by the International Air Transport Association shows that air travel traffic in the West African country soared by nearly 60 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to figures recorded in 2019.


Friday, June 2, 2023

Video - New national carrier, Nigeria Air launched

The Nigerian government has unveiled the long-awaited national carrier, Nigeria Air, in a major step for the country's aviation sector. Authorities said the Nigerian flag carrier will re-position Africa's most populous nation as a prominent player in the global aviation market.


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Video - Travelers upset over rising cost of flying in Nigeria

Travelers in Nigeria are dealing with the increasing cost of international airfares after the operators raised the rate of exchange three times between the months of March and May 2023. This trend has been linked to the piled-up unrepatriated funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.


Thursday, April 20, 2023

Video - International airlines struggle to repatriate $800 million from Nigeria

The International Air Transport Association says the amount of trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to repatriate is close to 800 million U.S. dollars. Nigeria is facing a severe shortage of foreign currency, and the issue makes it difficult for airlines to convert local currency to repatriate revenues earned from ticket sales.


Direct flights from Italy to Nigeria in the works

The Italian government will soon launch direct flights from Italy to Nigeria, its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stefano De Leo, has said.

“We plan to open an Italian trade agency in Lagos and, hopefully, soon launch direct flights between Italy and Nigeria,” De Leo said.

The Italian envoy said this moments after signing a working agreement with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on behalf of the Italian news agency, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) in Abuja.

The ambassador said the direct flights from Italy to Nigeria would boost the economic ties between the two countries.

De Leo added that the flights would lay the conditions for opening up other opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to both Italy and Nigeria in the near future.

“We are working closely with my colleague, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Italy, Mr Mfawa Abam. Today is a positive day because it signifies an important step towards improving the already excellent relations between both countries,” the envoy said.

The envoy said that the working agreement signed between NAN and ANSA would see the two news agencies sharing information and knowledge.

According to him, the agreement will also see ANSA providing training to NAN’s newsroom manpower.

He described the agreement as a major development, especially in view of the fact that it involves “a partner such as Nigeria, the giant of Africa”.

Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Buki Ponle, described the agreement as a step in the right direction as it would unveil great possibilities for news exchange between both agencies.

Ponle added that NAN is the country’s largest content provider and national purveyor of information, with 36 state offices and 26 district offices.

He said that the news agency’s focus was Nigeria, with Africa as the centerpiece of its reportage.

“The signing of the news exchange agreement with ANSA marks another defining phase in our continued engagements with like-minded institutions.

“It is my hope and belief that this landmark event will signal the beginning of a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship.

“To leverage its octopoidal reach, NAN has news exchange partnerships with leading international wire agencies such as Reuters (UK); Deutsch Presse-Agentur (Germany); Xinhua (China); and Sputnik (Russia).

“Others are Yonhap (South Korea); Asian News International (India); Anadolu (Turkey); and Bulgaria News Agency (Bulgaria).

“This is just a chip of the global experiences we are bringing into the partnership agreement with ANSA aimed at fostering a new and positive order in global reportage,” he said.

NAN reports that the managing director of NAN signed the agreement for NAN while the Italian ambassador signed on behalf of ANSA at the NAN headquarters in Abuja.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Flights disrupted in Nigeria due to strike by aviation workers strike over pay

Domestic flights in Nigeria were being disrupted on Monday, local airlines said, as aviation employees in Lagos blocked roads to the country's busiest local airport to begin a two-day strike in protest over working conditions and wages.

The strike is likely to add to problems in a sector that regularly faces jet fuel shortages, which often ground local flights and where international carriers struggle to repatriate revenue from ticket sales due to dollar shortages.

Air Peace, which also flies international and regional routes and has the largest fleet, told passengers that "flights across our network will consequently be disrupted" due to the strike. It did not say how many flights were delayed or cancelled.

United Nigeria said passengers in and out of the commercial capital of Lagos would be disrupted but hoped for a quick resolution to the impasse.

In Lagos, chanting workers blocked roads to the domestic terminal, creating a traffic jam and forcing passengers to finish their journey on foot. International flights were not affected.

Police and army personnel watched from a distance.

Lagos handles dozens of local flights daily.

"It is time for us to release aviation workers from the bondage of this imperialist aviation management that we have been having for years," Abdulrasaq Saidu, secretary general of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, said.

The Ministry of Aviation said it was trying to meet the workers' demands and urged them to return to work, adding the strike would "affect flight schedules, lead to economic losses and negatively impact on our rating globally."

Unions for pilots, engineers, control tower operators and other airport workers say they are protesting against unpaid wages, government failure to implement an industry minimum wage and plans to demolish the Lagos offices of some aviation agencies to allow for expansion of the airport.

The workers have threatened an indefinite strike later this month if their grievances are not addressed. 

By Seun Sanni and MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters

Related story: Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Flights in Nigeria disrupted as ground staff go on strike

Airlines in Nigeria said on Monday that flights were being disrupted after ground staff began an indefinite strike to demand higher pay.

Air Peace, which has the biggest fleet in Nigeria, and smaller domestic carrier Dana Air said the strike by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) was delaying flights and they hoped the issue would be quickly resolved.

“The strike has affected all operations of all airlines being handled by the company [NAHCO],” Air Peace said in a statement.

British Airways and Qatar Airways, among the foreign airlines frequently flying to Nigeria, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The National Union of Transport Employees and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria issued a notice last week that its members would go on strike from Monday to press NAHCO for better pay.

Flight disruptions are common in Nigeria due to issues surrounding logistics, labour union strikes and fuel scarcity.

In May 2022, the Airline Operators of Nigeria, an umbrella organisation of domestic airlines, suspended flights for days saying the price of jet fuel had jumped from 190 to 700 Nigerian naira per litre (from $0.45 to almost $1.70). The rise was primarily caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February. 

Al Jazeera

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Video - Nigerian business people eager to resume travel to China

Nigerian business people are looking forward to resuming regular travel to China, after China relaxed entry and exit conditions. Badamasi Kamaladdin is one of them. He has been buying phones and accessories from the Asian country for nearly a decade, and now says that he has high expectations in 2023 that his business will flourish once again.


Monday, January 2, 2023

Nigeria regrets travel restrictions to curb Omicron variant, says it disrupted business

The Nigerian government said the travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had no health benefit.

The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa stated that the restrictions impacted negatively on individuals and businesses.

“Recent experience in Nigeria with the arrival of omicron showed travel restrictions did not have any public health benefits but were disruptive for persons and businesses. COVID-19 has and continues to follow a different course (epidemiology in Nigeria and most of Africa),” Adetifa tweeted.

Following a meeting of the NCDC COVID-19 National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) held on Saturday, Adetifa said the EOC would continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation in the coming week.

He expressed confidence that the Nigerian population is significantly protected from a combination of natural infection and vaccination but hinted that there will be changes in government approach if the need arises.

“At the next review and if deemed necessary, a range of actions, not limited to enhanced surveillance of travellers at airports, may be implemented,” Adetifa said.

He advised Nigerians to make use of every opportunity the government has provided via to get vaccinated and urged citizens to receive their primary vaccination which can be two or a single vaccine dose.

“If you have received two vaccine doses already, go get your booster,” Adetifa said.

“If you have received one booster dose already, please go get your second booster dose. If you belong in any of the high-risk categories (old age, etc), kindly ensure you adhere to recommended public health safety measures – mask use, hand hygiene and avoiding crowded spaces.”

By Dennis Erezi, The Guardian

Related story: Video - Nigerian airlines see demand as the recovery gathers momentum

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Direct flights between Nigeria and Israel might be coming soon

Starting next month, Israelis might be able to travel to a new destination in Africa directly from Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nigerian airline Air Peace could start offering direct flights between Nigeria and Israel very soon, CEO Allen Onyema revealed this week in a meeting with the Israeli envoy to Nigeria.

The launch of the new flight route between Lagos and Tel Aviv, while not officially confirmed as of yet, could come as early as next month.

New potential line good news for Nigerian Christians

The 4,300 km. route would see the flight time between the two countries decrease significantly to only six hours. Currently, the travel can often include several transfers and usually takes longer than 10 hours.

The potential line is especially significant for many Nigerian Christians who wish to travel to Israel for its holy sites.

The Jerusalem Post

Related story: Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air


Monday, October 10, 2022

Nigeria To Start Building A New Airport In Lagos State Next Year

The Lagos State Government has announced that the construction of a new airport in the state will begin next year. The airport, given the all-clear from the Federal Government, will handle a minimum of five million travelers annually.

New Lagos Airport gets go-ahead

Construction of a new airport in Lagos State, Nigeria will begin next year, according to the government. The new facility will be built on a 3,500-hectare site situated on the busy Lekki peninsula east of downtown Lagos.

Jubril Gawat, Senior Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, told Daily Post.

"The project is expected to take off in the year 2023, it will be constructed on 3,500 hectares of land, master plan and aeronautical designs are in place; while studies are ongoing about strategies, funding and other issues, after which the project will be taken to the marketplace. The airport, which is expected to cater to a minimum of five million people yearly, will be constructed in partnership with local and foreign investors."

Nigeria's Federal Government has given its approval for the project. While the airport master plan has been finalized, the project could still face other hurdles, such as financing, so there's no guarantee construction will commence in 2023.

Catering to growing demand

There have long been calls to add air capacity to Lagos, which is Nigeria's largest city and a key economic and cultural hub in Africa. In fact, the wider Lagos area is home to over 20 million people, making it the most populous region on the entire continent.

Nigerian lawyer Kwami Adadevoh told Daily Post.

"It is overdue. Long, long overdue. Lagos doesn’t get enough air traffic for a city of its economic importance and that’s because the present airport is too small."

However, given that Lagos' current airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS), significantly expanded its capacity this year with a new terminal, some would argue that Lagos State has enough capacity already.

Nigeria has embarked on a significant infrastructure drive in recent years, including the development of five new international terminals and six cargo terminals as part of an agreement with EXIM Bank of China.

What about Murtala Muhammed International Airport?

Murtala Muhammed International Airport served almost 7.5 million travelers in 2019, dropping to 5.6 million in 2021. The old airport, built in the 1940s, is Nigeria's busiest with separate domestic and international terminals located around 1km apart.

The airport inaugurated a brand-new international terminal in April, but it turns out most airlines aren't using it. The new facility, which has a capacity for up to 14 million passengers annually, does not have sufficient apron space to host larger widebody aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777, Boeing 747, and Airbus A380, leading international airlines to remain at the older Terminal 1. 

By Luke Bodell

Simple Flying

Related stories: Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air



Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Ethiopian Airlines Announced As Partner For Nigeria Air

The Nigerian Government announced that Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s most prominent air carrier, was selected as a strategic partner and 49% shareholder of Nigeria Air. A breakdown of stakes showed that Ethiopian Airlines would own 49 % equity, the federal government would control 5 % equity, while a consortium of three Nigerian investors, MRS, SAHCO, and other institutional investors will have 46 %.
The stakeholders involved

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, noted that after a careful, detailed, and ICRC-governed selection process, Ethiopian Airlines (ET) Consortium has been selected as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air.

He noted that the consortium will be subjected to a due diligence process, after which the contract will be negotiated between the consortium and the FGN, leading to a Full Business Case, which will be expected to be approved Federal Executive Council (FEC). The process, according to the minister, will take off in six to eight weeks.

Fleet and first routes

The overall share capital of around $300 million will be provided by the preferred bidder that will launch Nigeria Air to its full size of 30 aircraft and international operation within the next two years. Nigeria Air will be launched with three Boeing 737-800 in a configuration very suitable for the Nigerian market.

It will launch with a shuttle service between Abuja and Lagos to establish a new comfortable, reliable, and affordable travel between these two major Nigerian Airports. Other domestic destinations will follow thereafter. According to the Minister of aviation.

“A signature-ready contract has been finalized with Ethiopian Airlines for the three Boeing 737-800 with a 16 Business Class and 150 Economy Class configuration."

The approval process and recruitment

All executives have been approved by NCAA (Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority), and the Air Transport License has also been issued. Nigeria Air (having identified the first three aircraft) will finalize all necessary Operation Manuals and then go through the inspection and approval process of NCAA.

The money spent for the launch of Nigeria Air, for all the requirements to establish an AOC ( Air Operators Certificate) and be admitted to starting an airline operation as prescribed in the FEC-approved Outline Business Case (OBC), is well within the 5 % capital investment of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The minister added:

“No further federal government funding will be provided above the five percent share capital of the next national Carrier of Nigeria, which was provided to launch Nigeria Air."

The airline has already begun its recruitment process, announced in a memo posted to the official Twitter account of the Federal Ministry of Aviation at the end of last week. The memo reads:

"Nigeria Air is now recruiting qualified crew for the following positions: Experienced, and current B737 Captains; Experienced, and Current B737 First Officers; Experienced, and Current B737 Senior Cabin Crew and Cabin Crew Experienced, and Current B737 Engineers (B1/B2 preferred).”

The announcement adds that positions will be based in Abuja or Lagos, and that additional details of open positions will be available soon on the airline's website.

By Afema Ronnie

Simple Flying

Related story: Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

Monday, September 12, 2022

Nigeria To Fine Airlines That Don't Sell Tickets In Local Currency

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced airlines selling plane tickets in a currency different from the local one, the Naira, will be fined. Let's look closely at why the country has made such a dramatic decision.

Nigeria's shortage of foreign currency

Hadi Sirika, Nigeria's Minister of Aviation, announced that foreign carriers can no longer sell plane tickets in a currency different from the Naira.

The decision stems from a shortage of foreign currency Nigeria is currently facing. Although the country's primary source of export is oil, Nigeria has not managed to take advantage of the product's current high price efficiently. The Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) linked the country's inability to exploit its natural resource to low production rates, pipeline thefts, and acts of vandalism.

Consequently, Nigeria is implementing harsh measures to prevent foreign currencies from pouring out of the country. For example, foreign currency funds of several airlines, for instance, deriving from selling tickets in US Dollars or Euros, have been frozen. Upon this decision, many carriers have canceled flights to Nigeria, including Emirates.

The international response

In front of Nigeria's measures to prevent foreign currencies from flowing out of the country, the international response has been just as harsh.

Indeed, Nigeria was forced to unblock $265 million the country owed to foreign airlines. This sum represents 57% of the $464 million Nigeria withheld in July 2022. As a consequence, foreign carriers have progressively resumed flights to Nigeria. From their side, airlines must now commit themselves to selling tickets in Naira. Commenting on those airlines that refuse to do so, Nigeria's Minister for Aviation stated:

This is a violation of our local laws and will not be tolerated. Those airlines that will not abide by this measure will be punished.


The Nigerian Aviation market

According to Minister Sirika, in 2016, $600 million of the total $1.1 billion generated by airlines in Nigeria belonged to foreign carriers.

Given the relevance of the Nigerian aviation market, the Minister underlined how important it is for the country to have a national carrier, which is expected to start operations in 2023. According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), the airline operating the most frequencies to Nigeria in 2019 was Air Peace, based in the country's capital, Lagos. Air Peace also ranked first in terms of capacity, with 2 billion seats offered to/from Nigeria in 2019, and the scenario is the same for 2022. Among the Gulf carriers, Qatar is particularly strong in Nigeria, ranking 6th in 2022 in terms of capacity, with 659,236 seats offered to/from the country. Regarding Europe, Lufthansa is the 9th carrier for capacity deployed to/from Nigeria, while Turkish Airlines places 10th.

In terms of traffic, the Nigerian market is predominantly domestic, with almost 3 million passengers estimated in 2022 and a market share of 74%. The busiest international origin is the UK, representing a market share of 4% and an estimated number of passengers of 146,628. The busiest connecting airport for Nigerian Origin&Destination (O&D) traffic is Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV), serving the Nigerian city of Abuja, whereas Doha Hamad International Airport (DOH) is the busiest international connecting airport for traffic bound for Nigeria. 

By Giacomo Amati

Simple Flying

Related story: 14-Year-Old Stowaway Found At Lagos Airport Was Tired Of Nigeria

Monday, September 5, 2022

14-Year-Old Stowaway Found At Lagos Airport Was Tired Of Nigeria

A 14-year-old stowaway who was found unconscious inside one of the airlines of United Nigeria at the domestic wing of the Lagos airport was tired of Nigeria and wanted to travel out, the operators of the MMA2 terminal, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, has said.

A statement by Head of Media of the company, Oluwatosin Onalaja, on Sunday, identified the stowaway (name withheld) as an orphan from Kwara State but based in the Badagry area of Lagos.

“At around 6:10a.m. on Sunday 4th September 2022, United Nigeria (the Airline) informed Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (BASL) of a 14-year-old stowaway boy found unconscious inside one of their aircraft,” Onalaja said in the statement.

The spokesman for the company said the boy told investigators that he gained access into the airside through an opening at Ile- Zik, the perimeter fence along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

He said the orphan passed through General Aviation Terminal, Air Force hanger and walked down to MMA2 where he hid himself at the Apron. “He saw staff on duty at GAT and Air Force hanger but dodged them and passed through the bush,” the statement noted.

“The incident boy was brought out of the aircraft and taken to the MMA2 clinic for first aid medical attention. He was later transferred for further treatment to the FAAN clinic where he regained consciousness at about 10:20a.m.

“We are an active part of the ongoing investigation to ascertain exactly what happened and to aid the prevention of any such occurrence in the future,” Onalaja said.

According to the statement, the boy has been discharged from the hospital and taken to the FAAN Crime Office at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport along with United Nigeria Security Guard for further questioning.

By Kayode Oyero 


Thursday, September 1, 2022

Dubai's Emirates to resume Lagos flights after Nigeria releases funds

Emirates will resume some flights to Nigeria this month after the Central Bank of Nigeria released a portion funds the Dubai airline had earned in the country but had not been able to repatriate.

An airline spokesperson said flights to Lagos will resume from Sept. 11, though it is not possible to resume flights to Abuja in September because resources had already been stood down.

"We continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to ensure the repatriation of our outstanding and future funds may continue without hindrance," the spokesperson said, welcoming what it said was the central bank's move to release a portion of its blocked funds.

The airline did not say how much money had been released or how much remained blocked.

The state-owned carrier last month announced it was suspending all flights to Nigeria from Sept. 1 after it said it had made no progress with local authorities to access its funds.

Nigeria's Central Bank later said it had released $265 million to airlines to settle outstanding ticket sales.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the largest airline group, had said that by July Nigeria was blocking airlines from repatriating $464 million in revenue.

By Alexander Cornwell


Related story: Emirates suspends Nigeria passenger flights until further notice

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Emirates to suspend Nigeria flights from September over trapped funds

Dubai's Emirates will suspend flights to Nigeria from next month over an inability to repatriate funds from Africa's most populous nation, the airline said on Thursday.

The decision highlights the difficulties faced by international carriers that fly to Nigeria, which is one of the biggest markets in Africa for several of them.

The country has restricted access to foreign currency for imports and for investors seeking to repatriate their profits due to a shortage of dollars. Nigeria gets about 90% of its foreign exchange from oil, but is struggling to produce due to pipeline theft and years of under-investment.

The International Air Transport Association said in June Nigeria was withholding $450 million in revenue that international carriers operating in the country had earned.

Emirates said it had made no progress in efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention.

"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," it said in a statement.

A Federal Ministry of Aviation spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Emirates had earlier sent a letter to the government saying it could cut flights to Lagos this month because it could not get $85 million stuck in the country as of July, a figure that had been rising by $10 million per month.

Emirates said it would re-evaluate its decision if the situation over the blocked funds changed in the coming days.

Affected customers would be helped to make alternative travel arrangements where possible, it added.

By MacDonald Dzirutwe