Emirates Airlines has restored its flight operations to Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos.
The company announced this in emails sent to its customers.
The email send on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, reads, “We are pleased to inform you that effective from 11th September 2022, we will reinstate operations of our flights.
“Inbound flights from Dubai to Lagos (EK783) and outbound flights from Lagos to Dubai (EK784) will recommence from Sunday, 11th September 2022.
“Lagos flights after 30th September 2022 will be advised in due course.”
Wednesday’s reinstatement came two weeks after the United Arab Emirates, UAE, carrier suspended flight operations, citing its inability to repatriate its earnings in foreign exchange from Nigeria.
“We have had no choice but to take this action, to mitigate the continued losses Emirates is experiencing as a result of funds being blocked in Nigeria,” the airlines said in a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
“As of July 2022, Emirates has US$85 million of funds awaiting repatriation from Nigeria. This figure has been rising by more than $US10 million every month, as the ongoing operational costs of our 11 weekly flights to Lagos and 5 to Abuja continue to accumulate.”
The Emirates’ move followed concerns raised by the International Air Transportation Association, IATA, over the issue. IATA had said foreign airlines’ funds trapped in Nigeria rose from $450 million in May to $464 million in July.
While the Federal Government said Nigeria was having a forex exchange crisis and thus could not meet some responsibilities, including revenue repatriation by foreign airlines, it later bowed to pressure and released $265 million to the airlines.
The IATA lauded the step, noting that it would boost foreign airlines’ to continue their service in Nigeria.