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IATA Confirms British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Other Foreign Airlines Could Leave Nigeria Soon



The IATA said that trapped funds in Nigeria have become a major problem for foreign airlines. This followed a report that British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and others might leave Nigeria soon. The VP of IATA said that the country charges high but doesn’t deliver quality service to passengers. The International Air Transport Association has highlighted that international airlines faced challenges over trapped ticket revenues in Nigeria and other countries. It stated that if the situation is not quickly resolved, it could lead to foreign airlines exiting the country.

Kamil Alawadhi, the regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, International Air Transport Association, said this in an interview with Punch. This comes after a report that British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and others might leave Nigeria soon.

The vice president claims that Lagos and Abuja airports in Nigeria are the two most costly in the region. Despite this, he claimed, the airport does not provide very high-quality services to travellers or airlines, who pay exorbitant fees to fly to and from those airports. Alawadhi said: “These are all charged in hard currency. They are willing to reap the benefits of the taxes and charges in Nigeria for the aviation industry, but they are not willing to give the airlines their due”. “This will stop, you know, I mean, it is getting to a breaking point for Nigeria where airlines will stop dropping off and not operating to Nigeria, which will then mean that their source of hard currency when it comes to aviation will also start reducing and it becomes a vicious cycle.”

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He added that numerous African airlines are experiencing financial difficulties due to blocked funds, to the point where they are unable to make purchases or pay their invoices. Solving challenges of blocked funds In solving the blocked funds issue, Alawadhi said that the first step is for both parties to engage, as failure to do so would mean difficulty in terms of moving forward. He said: “I have not been able to engage with the new CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso. I had a report that he would engage with me when he has a solution but I have engaged with the Aviation Minister Festus Keyamo who was very understanding. This was in September. I was hoping to move forward from that but unfortunately, we did not get very far after that.”

FG explains why foreign airlines abandon Nigeria, says the country is worst debtor to airlines reported that the federal government has explained why some airlines prefer neighbouring countries to Nigeria. The chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms committee, Taiwo Oyedele, made this known at the Business Breakfast Meeting that was organised by the Aviation Round Table Initiative (ARTI).

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