The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has raised the alarm over the continuous sharp increase in the trapped funds of the foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.
In the latest reaction coming from the global airlines clearing house, the trapped funds have now increased from $662m in January 2023 to $743,721,097 as at today.
IATA made this known in a letter addressed to the Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, signed by the Area Manager West and Central Africa, IATA, Dr Samson Fatokun, in Abuja.
IATA, in the letter called on the minister to help resolve the issue of the trapped funds in Nigeria.
IATA in the statement declared: “For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world. Please find attached the comparative table of airlines’ blocked funds by country.
“Moreover, as of January 2023, airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have increased to $743.721.092 from $662m in January 2023 and $549m in December 2022.”
The foreign airlines had lamented how their inability to repatriate the trapped funds have put pressure on their operational cost.
While many of the airlines had threatened to withdraw their services from Nigeria until the funds are paid, Nigeria’s Central Bank had released the sum of $265 million as part payment 2hile another tranche of $150millon was paid leaving the country with the outstanding of about $400million as at last year.
Failure to continue to service the debt which has forced Emirates Airlines to since suspend operations in Nigeria, is responsible for the latest humongous debt.
The inability of the foreign carriers to get the blocked funds forced them to withdraw the low inventory fares from Nigeria leaving the country’s traveling public with the most expensive regimes of fares globally.