Emirates will reduce operations in Nigeria after being unable to repatriate $85 million

Due to its failure to repatriate around $85 million in income, Emirates Airlines has announced that it would scale back its flying operations to Nigeria.

This information was provided by the airline in a letter to Hadi Sirika, the aviation minister.

Sheik Majid Al Mualla, divisional senior vice-president (DSVP), international relations for Emirates airline, signed the letter, which was dated July 22.

Emirates said that its activities in Nigeria would be scaled back beginning on August 15.

The Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s flight schedule would also change from 11 to 7 flights weekly (MMIA).

The letter said that there was nothing further that could be done to stop the losses that Emirates was still suffering as a result of the money being frozen in Nigeria.

“As of July 2022, Emirates has US$ 85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than $US 10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.

“We simply cannot continue to operate at the current level in the face of mounting losses, especially in the challenging post-COVID-19 climate.

“Emirates did try to stem the losses by proposing to pay for fuel in Nigeria in Nairas, which would have at least reduced one element of our ongoing costs, however, this request was denied by the supplier.

“This means that not only are Emirates’ revenues accumulating, we also have to send hard currency into Nigeria to sustain our own operation. Meanwhile, our revenues are out of reach, and not even earning credit interest.

“Your Excellency, this is not a decision we have taken lightly. Indeed, we have made every effort to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find a solution to this issue. Our Senior Vice-President met with the Deputy Governor of the CBN in May and followed up on the meeting by letter to the Governor himself the following month, however no positive response was received.

“Meetings were also held with Emirates’ own bank in Nigeria and in collaboration with IATA to discuss improving FX allocation, but with limited success. Despite our considerable efforts, the situation continues to deteriorate. We are now in the unfortunate position of having to cut flights, to mitigate against further losses going forward.”

“We are confident that your valuable involvement would make a real difference in improving this very difficult situation. Should there be any positive development in the coming days, we will, of course, re-evaluate this decision.”

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