Emirates Airlines has again suspended flights between Dubai and Nigeria, over blocked.
In August, the Emirati company decided to suspend its flights between Dubai and the airports of Lagos and Abuja, after negotiating in vain with the authorities on the release of funds due to foreign carriers. The new suspension of both routes “to mitigate further losses” according to Emirates began on October 29, 2022, with no announced resumption date.
According to Reuters, the discussions focused on “the repatriation and receipt of at least 80% of our remaining blocked funds by the end of October 2022”, in addition to the launch of a “guaranteed mechanism” to avoid future problems. In these “extraordinary circumstances, Emirates had no choice but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria”.
Emirates had told Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sitika that it was losing “$10 million every month” in operational costs by serving the country. “In the past, Nigeria has demonstrated its capacity, willingness and fairness to solve this type of problem,” the minister replied, explaining that “it happened when we took power in 2015: there were a lot of blocked funds, about $600 million at the time. when the country was in recession and the country’s revenues were declining, but we have honoured our obligation to pay all these blocked funds.”
However, since then, the amount of funds blocked has increased again, and the minister has changed his tone. Hadi Sirika declared at the end of October that he was “not afraid of being closed. The country can prosper without the operations of foreign airlines (…). We cannot be intimidated. We are talking here about the largest market in Africa, which cannot be compared to other countries in this part of the world. It is therefore in the interest of operators to be in business here”… A position supported by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which wants to avoid the exit of dollars very necessary to the rest of the economy.