Emirates Airlines has announced that it will suspend its flights to Nigeria from September 1 this year.
The proposed suspension of flights to Nigeria is connected to its failure to repatriate its trapped ticket sales fund in the West African country back to its home country in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Emirates Airlines in December 2021 announced an indefinite suspension of its flights to Nigeria as a retaliatory action over Nigeria’s reduction of its flights to UAE due to a diplomatic row that was going on between the two countries.
It was also gathered that at least $600 million belonging to over 20 foreign airlines had been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
And about two weeks ago, Emirates said that out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria.
On Monday, the airline cut its 11 weekly frequencies into Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to seven, and in a statement by its media consultant in Nigeria, the airline alleged that all efforts to repatriate the funds had been futile. It said it was compelled to suspend all flights into the country.
The airlines’ statement on Thursday stated that “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 travelers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”