International Air Transport Association has said that Nigeria is owing foreign airlines the sum of $53 million, which is the proceeds from sales of foreign airlines’ ticket that are trapped in Nigeria due to foreign exchange crunch.
The IATA Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Muhammed Albakri, who made this known at the 76th Annual General Meeting of the Association, said that the inability of some international airline had in the past led to the suspension of their operations in Nigeria
Muhammed Albakri said that foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the fund back to their operational base, adding that Nigeria and other African countries have blocked funds that amounted to $516 million.
“IATA has been at the forefront of the campaign, soliciting governments’ support for the aviation industry in order to salvage the situation.”
It is discovered that Nigeria is not the only country with trapped funds but fourth among 12 others with similar issues. Others African states are Zimbabwe $160 million; Eritrea $79 million; Algeria $54 million; Ethiopia $52 million; Sudan $45 million; Libya $27 million; XAF Zone $27 million; Angola $9 million; Mozambique $6 million; Burundi $3 million and Zambia $1 million.
The IATA’s disclosure is an indication that the airlines could not access foreign exchange due to COVID-19 pandemic, as most countries are struggling economically with its attendant effect on global airline industry.
International airlines are owed $824 million globally and $516 million out of $824 million is in Africa.