These are not the best of times for foreign airlines operating in Nigeria as they are having difficulties repatriating funds to their operational bases as the sum of $53 million, which is the proceeds from their ticket sales are trapped in Nigeria.
According to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Mr. Muhammed Albakri, in an address at its 76th Annual General Meeting, foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the fund back to their operational bases.
He disclosed that Nigeria and other African countries have blocked funds that amounted to $516 million, adding, “IATA has been at the forefront of the campaign, soliciting governments’ support for the aviation industry in order to salvage the situation.”
According to industry watchers, Nigeria is not the only country with trapped funds but fourth among 12 others with similar issues.
Other African states involved include Zimbabwe $160 million; Eritrea $79 million; Algeria $54 million; Ethiopia $52 million; Sudan $45 million; Libya $27 million; XAF Zone $27 million; Angola $9 million; Mozambique $6 million; Burundi $3 million and Zambia $1 million.
COVID-19 angle: IATA’s disclosure is an indication that the airlines could not access foreign exchange (forex) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as most countries are struggling economically with its attendant effect on the global airline industry.