The Nigerian government says it will aim to release $743 million in blocked revenues earned by international airlines operating in the West African country.
Earlier this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) labelled Nigeria as the worst offender for blocking international airlines from repatriating revenues, warning that failure to release the funds would cost the country connectivity and further hamper supply chain woes.
The situation has become so bad that Emirates completely suspended all flights between Dubai and Nigeria last October in a row over $85 million in revenues that Nigeria had blocked from being repatriated to the United Arab Emirates.
After a threat by Emirates to suspend operations, the Nigerian central bank did release a portion of the owed funds but the airline followed through with its threat after the two sides reached an impasse over the remaining trapped revenues.
Since October, Nigeria has been slowly repaying Emirates but still owes the airline around $35 million.
Internationally, IATA claims the amount of blocked airline funds has ballooned to more than $2 billion in recent months as a result of severe dollar shortages in some countries.
While Nigeria has become the worst offender, Algeria is said to owe airlines $165 million and Lebanon has a tab for $146 owed to foreign carriers. IATA claims more than 27 countries and territories are currently blocking the repatriation of airline funds.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
This is great that this is finally going to happen (though I will believe it when I see it). I’m sure Nigeria will try and throw some conditions on there demanding restoration of service or what-not (I remember a West African nation sanctioning Delta – see how well that worked – over them operating an older B767-300 to their capitol with old Business Class, which just offended their President to no end).
I’m sure Nigeria will get the airline version of a pinky swear, and once the money is released the next time Nigeria calls they will get a “And who is this?” answer on the phone.