Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its flight operations to Nigeria, starting September 1, 2022.
The flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, August 18, citing the inability to repatriate its earnings in foreign exchange from Nigeria.
At least $600 million from over 20 foreign airlines has been blocked in Nigeria since the beginning of the year. Emirates had said two weeks ago that out of these funds, it had about $85 million in Nigeria.
Emirates had asked Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s minister of aviation, to support the repatriation of its revenue, amounting to $85 million.
On Monday, August 15, the airline had cut its 11 weekly frequencies into Lagos Airport to just 7. Now, it has been announced that all flights to Nigeria will be suspended from September 1.
The airline said the suspension would “limit further losses and reduce the impact on its operational costs that continue to accumulate in the Nigerian market”.
Emirates Airlines said in a statement: “Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however, the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.
“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travelers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”