Emirates Airlines, the flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced the suspension of its flight operations to Nigeria, effective September 1, 2022.
In a statement issued on Thursday morning, Emirates said it had tried every avenue to address its ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria and had made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution. It, however, said the efforts had yielded no progress.
“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,” the airline said.
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Emirates said it sincerely regretted the inconvenience its suspension of operation would caused to its customers, adding, however, that “the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage“.
“We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much-needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations,” the airline said.
Following the latest development, Emirates said it would be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible. It assured that it would re-evaluate its decision should there be any positive development from the Central Bank of Nigeria concerning the trapped funds.
Over $600 million belonging to at least 20 foreign carriers is currently trapped in Nigeria due to a foreign exchange crunch, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), while attempts at a resolution from the Federal Government have failed to yield a positive result.