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Nigeria clears years-old blocked airline funds


Nigeria clears years-old blocked airline funds | Nigeria has cleared 98 percent of blocked airline funds that have been held in the West African country for years.

At its peak in June 2023, Nigeria’s blocked funds amounted to $850 million, significantly affecting airline operations and finances in the country.

Carriers faced difficulties in repatriating revenues in US dollars, and the high volume of blocked funds led some airlines to reduce their operations and one carrier to temporarily cease operations to Nigeria, which severely impacted the country’s aviation industry.


However, as of April 2024, 98% of these funds have been cleared. The remaining $19 million is due to the Central Bank’s ongoing verification of outstanding forward claims filed by the commercial banks.  

Kamil Alawadhi, IATA Regional Vice-president for Africa and Middle East, briefing the African Media at the ongoing 80th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Dubai, was optimistic that the clearing of the blocked funds will lead to lower fares and increased competition in Nigeria going forward.

“Now automatically they will start dropping the airfares. You will see that airfares are actually generally quite expensive in Nigeria. We are going to see increased competition [ with the clearing of the blocked funds].”

He commend the new Nigerian government and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their efforts to resolve this issue.

Willie Walsh, IATA‘s Director-General, in a statement noted that individual Nigerians and the economy will all benefit from reliable air connectivity for which access to revenues is critical. “We are on the right path and urge the government to clear the residual $19 million and continue prioritizing aviation,” said Mr. Walsh noted.  

Return of Emirates

Dubai-based Emirates is to resume flights to Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, effective October 1, 2024. The Dubai-Lagos-Dubai service will be operated using a Boeing 777-300ER.

Emirates Airlines suspended its flights to Lagos in 2022 over its inability to repatriate its fund from the West African country.

AviationGhana | Nigeria clears years-old blocked airline funds