Following Nigeria’s central bank’s agreement to release some of the more than US $85 million in blocked funds that the Dubai-based airline had been prohibited from moving out of Nigeria, Emirates will partially resume flights there.
The airline’s threat to entirely halt operations in Nigeria due to an ongoing financial disagreement with the Nigerian government was carried out on Thursday.
By resuming daily flights to and from Lagos beginning on September 11, Emirates says it now has intentions to partially return to Nigeria. An Emirates representative stated that this was the earliest date that flights might resume since it would take time to “arrange the smooth and safe resumption of operations.”
“Emirates welcomes the Central Bank of Nigeria’s move to release a portion of our blocked funds, and we continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to ensure the repatriation of our outstanding and future funds may continue without hindrance,” a statement from the airline continued.
According to estimates from the International Air Transport Association, Nigeria has recently prevented foreign airlines from remitting $464 million in profits to their home countries (IATA).
Emirates says its losses in Nigeria have been increasing by approximately $10 million every month. Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, the airline’s senior vice president for international affairs said the airline had “tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria”.
The Central Bank of Nigeria announced late last week that it would transfer $265 million to airlines in order to repay unpaid ticket sales. When the remaining monies would be disbursed is unknown, according to the bank.