United Arab Emirates carrier, Emirates Airlines on Thursday declared it is halting its operations in and out of Nigeria following its protracted efforts to repatriate it earnings trapped in the vault of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The beleaguered carrier enjoys lucrative routes in Nigeria while the Dubai government harasses the only Nigerian indigenous carrier that operates into the country with hurdles to frustrate its operations.
An electronic statement made available to our correspondent Thursday evening titled ‘Emirates latest info on Nigeria operations’ from Emirates spokesperson, it said “Emirates has continued to actively seek a solution for the repatriation of the remainder of its blocked funds in Nigeria.”
“We were encouraged by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s efforts of reviewing our request, and considered that this critical issue would be swiftly resolved with the subsequent clearance of our remaining funds.”
The document explained that “However, Emirates has yet to receive an allocation of our blocked funds to be repatriated. Without the timely repatriation of the funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds do not accumulate in any way, the backlog will continue to grow, and we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria.
“We have officially communicated our position and attended multiple hearings with the Nigerian government, and we have made our proposed approach clear to alleviate this untenable situation, including a plan for the progressive release of our funds. This included the repatriation and receipt of at least 80% of our remaining blocked funds by the end of October 2022, in addition to providing a guaranteed mechanism to avoid future repatriation accumulation challenges and delays.”
The airline said, “Under these extraordinary circumstances Emirates had no option but to suspend flights to/from Nigeria from 29 October 2022 to mitigate against further losses moving forward.
“We hope to reach a mutual resolution with the Nigerian government around the repatriation of blocked funds to enable the resumption of operations and connectivity for travelers and businesses.”