Abuja, Nigeria | Xinhua | The Dubai-based airline Emirates on Thursday said it planned to resume all flights to and from Nigeria, starting Sept. 11, following the recovery of a portion of its blocked funds accruing from ticket sales from the most populous African country.
The airline said in a statement it will continue to engage local authorities in Nigeria to ensure the repatriation of outstanding and future funds.
On Aug. 18, Emirates announced its plan to halt all flights to and from Nigeria, starting Sept. 1, to cut down losses following its inability to repatriate part of its revenue from the west African country, adding it had tried every avenue to address the challenges in repatriating funds from the country and made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
Although grappling with a lingering foreign exchange crisis for several weeks now, the central bank of Nigeria, last Friday, heeded the call for the release of the blocked funds by announcing the release of 265 million dollars to airlines operating in the country to settle outstanding trapped funds, according to reports by local media.
“In light of these developments, Emirates will reinstate flights to/from Lagos from September 11, which is the earliest date for us to co-ordinate the smooth and safe resumption of operations,” the airline said. “We constantly review our network operations and will adjust our flying schedules to respond to market demand and other operational factors.”
In consonance with Nigeria’s bilateral air service agreements, foreign airlines are expected to issue their tickets to passengers in Naira, the local currency, while the country’s apex bank provides the equivalence in U.S. dollars for repatriation to their home countries.