The United Arab Emirates (UAE) biggest airline, said that Emirates plans to reinstate flights to and from Nigeria, starting September 11, following the recovery of a portion of its blocked funds accruing from ticket sales from the most popular African country.

Emirates flights to Nigeria is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates
Emirates is the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates © Emirates

A spokesperson for the airline said on September 1 that it will continue to engage with local authorities in Nigeria to ensure the repatriation of outstanding and future funds – following the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release $256m, a part of the payment of the entire blocked funds belonging to foreign carriers.

Will Nigeria be able to fulfil its debt with Emirates amongst other airlines?

This appears to be the main reason why many other international carriers are discontinuing their operations until payments are made in full.

On August 18, Emirates announced its plan to discontinue all flights to and from Nigeria, starting Septemptember 1, to cut down losses following its inability to repatriate part of its revenue from the west African country.

Emirates added they 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.

“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.

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, we constantly review our network operations and will adjust our flying schedules to respond to market demand and other operational factors.”- a statement issued by Emirates. 

To accommodate the economic situation, 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 as well as limiting flights to balance the cost build-up from the airlines.

There are rising concerns about Nigeria’s ability to repatriate funds to Emirates and other foreign airlines, as the situation develops we will keep covering the story.

As the cost of airfares is still a major concern, will the Nigerian air service be able to find a solution to make them more affordable? Leave a comment below.

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