By Prince Okafor
Following complaints of trapped funds in Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, UAE, flag carrier, Emirates Airlines, says effective September 1, it would stop flights operations in and out of Nigeria.
Vanguard gathered that at last count the airline had $85 million trapped within Nigeria despite measures to reach the Federal Government in a bid to repatriate the funds.
At least, $600 million of over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
It would be recalled that the airline had reduced it flight operations to Nigeria last month as a means of managing it business in the country.
In a letter transmitted to Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the airline cut its 11 weekly frequencies into Lagos Airport to just seven after indicating it would do so.
However, Emirates, in a statement on Thursday morning, noted that it would suspend flights from Nigeria effective September 1.
The airline’s statement reads: “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
”Regrettably, there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective September 1 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.
”Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our 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.”