Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of all of its flights from Nigeria.
In a statement cited by BizWatch Nigeria, Emirates said the suspension would take effect from Thursday, September 1, 2022.
The airline explained that the reason for the suspension was because of its inability to repatriate funds from Nigeria.
To tackle this challenge, Emirates said it has made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution and regrettably there has been no progress.
“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.
“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,” the statement read.
The airline, however, hinted that if there is any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, it would have no choice but to re-evaluate its suspension 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,” the airline added.
What you should know about Emirates’ plight
Since last year, foreign airlines that operate in and out of the country have been complaining about the difficulties in repatriating accumulated funds, which were in excess of $143.8 million as of November 2021.
This development implies that the airlines’ accrued funds realised from its Nigerian operations could not be transferred freely across countries by converting into foreign currency.
The funds were from tickets sold locally, and could not be repatriated due to the foreign exchange (FX) liquidity crisis.