$600 million Trapped: Emirates Airlines Warns Nigerian Govt, Plans To End Flight Operations

Emirates' $85 million is stuck in Nigeria, and the airline says it's running on losses in the Nigerian market, impacting its operational costs.

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Emirates Airlines have given Nigerian government a condition to resolve the company’s inability to access its foreign exchange or the firm will end its operation in the country.

The Dubai firm’s $85 million foreign currency is trapped in Nigeria, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made it difficult for airlines, who are a major source of Nigeria’s Foreign exchange, to access such funds.

About $600 million owned by foreign airlines are presently stuck in Nigeria, with Emirates Airlines accounting for $85 million of the total fund. This has reduced the capital available for the firms to finance their operation.

Aside from the $85 million trapped in Nigeria, Emirates Airlines said its running on losses in the Nigerian market, and this has been impacting the company’s operational costs.

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In a statement released on Thursday, Emirates Airlines said unless the government intervenes in helping the firm retrieve its funds, it will stop flight operation into Nigeria from September 1, just after reducing its flight frequency from 11 to seven.

The statement reads, “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.

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“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, 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.”

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