Over $175 million in ticket revenue of foreign airlines were still trapped in Nigeria as at June 2017 down from $600 million in June last year,the International Air Transport Association, IATA, has revealed.
The IATA Area Manager, South West Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, who spoke in Lagos, said non remittance of such funds was having negative impact on the operations of the affected carriers, as the blocked funds constitute operating costs for the carriers
He urged the Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) to accelerate the process that could enable the affected carriers access the blocked funds to ease their business.
He said though the CBN had tried to bring the blocked funds down but that a lot could still be done to clean out the entire sum.
Fatokun said Nigeria could accelerate the release of the funds as done by some African countries , including Egypt where the entire blocked funds have been released.
He said the negative impact of withholding airlines funds could have ripple effects on the entire aviation value chain with some airlines that pulled out last year.
He said Iberia and United Airlines pulled out of Nigeria last year because of issues bordering on blocked funds.
He said IATA was worried over rising airport and air navigational charges, taxes and levies which were affecting the capacity of airlines in Nigeria, saying it will continue to engage aviation authorities, governments and regulators on how to achieve a win – win to enable air travel serve as a catalyst for economic growth.