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About $700 mln foreign airlines revenue trap in Nigeria, 10 other Africa nations ~IATA

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Many foreign airlines have not been able to repatriate revenue generated from ticket sales estimated at $700m to their home country from Nigeria and 10 other African countries, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said.

According to IATA Regional Vice President, Africa and Middle-East, Kamil Al-Awadhi, foreign carriers have not been able to repatriate about $208 million out of the $700 million from Nigeria.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based IATA represents over 290 international airlines, had in August put the blocked funds for Nigeria at $143.8 million.

The development may not be unconnected with the acute dollar shortage in Nigeria and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to management demand for hard currency by endusers.

READ ALSO: CBN Flags-off Digital Financial Inclusion for Women, Youth

On Thursday, Kamil Al-Awadhi said the latest development was threatening to hamper aviation in Nigeria, adding that the figure was rising every week.

“At the onset of COVID-19, Nigeria’s air connectivity was severely damaged as aviation took its biggest hit in history.  In April 2020, Nigeria lost over 75 percent of its international route connectivity compared to 2019, and passenger demand still hasn’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

“But COVID-19 is not the only threat to connectivity, to aviation’s recovery in Nigeria, or to the country’s economic revival.  Airlines’ inability to access adequate foreign exchange in Nigeria is a rapidly increasing obstacle.”

Kamil Al-Awadhi added, “Globally, $1 billion in airline funds is blocked by 20 countries worldwide.  Of this, roughly $700m is tied up in 11 African countries, including $208m being held back in Nigeria.  It is the most amount blocked by any single African country, and the amount is rising every week.”

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