Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Emirates Airline to suspend Abuja operations

The airline is stopping flight operations to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from October 22, 2016.

According to Emirates, the reason for this decision is irregularities in the controversial foreign currency repatriation policy of Nigeria.

This has led to a loss of as much as 64 billion Naira by foreign airlines in the past year on account of repatriating 800 million Dollars stuck in the economy then released recently after the devaluation of the naira.

After the devaluation, the 800 million Dollars that was accumulated from airlines’ ticket sales at the time the exchange rate was still at N197 to a dollar, was taken out of Nigeria at new rate of N320 to a dollar, leading to the loss of a lot of money.

The Nigerian aviation sector has consistently struggled with the many FX policies of CBN.

Emirates Airlines has formally written to Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State, Aviation, on its intention to stop flight operations to Abuja due to inability to buy FX and remit its sales.

According to a Daily Trust source, if there is no change after the suspension of flights to Abuja, Emirates would suspend Lagos operations indefinitely, exiting the Nigerian market.

"Emirates has huge money in naira at the banks. It cannot repatriate its sales because it cannot buy dollars. This is having negative effect on their operations," the source said.

Aero Contractors and First Nation, two of Nigeria's local airlines have previously suspended operations due to trouble times as they wait for yet another bailout. 

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