Emirates Airlines Set to Return as CBN Confirms Payment of $137m to British Airways, Other Airlines

Emirates Airlines Set to Return as CBN Confirms Payment of $137m to British Airways, Other Airlines

  • The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that it paid a total of $137 million to foreign airlines
  • The apex bank revealed that it paid an additional $64.44 million to affected foreign airlines
  • CBN said the development will boost confidence in the FX market in Nigeria

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has concluded the payment of all verified FX claims by foreign airlines with an additional $64.44 million payment to the affected airlines.

CBN’s Spokesperson, Hakama Sidi-Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Foreign Airlines, CBN
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Cardoso Credit: CBN
Source: Getty Images

CBN pays a total of $136.73 million to foreign airlines

She said the new amount brought the total verified sum paid to the airlines to $136.73 million, saying all verified airline claims have now been cleared.

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The CBN spokesperson said the apex bank governor, Olayemi Cardoso, and his team are committed to and would ensure that the backlog of payments across all sectors is settled to restore confidence in the Nigerian FX market.

She stressed that the CBN is working with stakeholders to improve liquidity in the forex market and reduce the pressure on the naira.

Per Ali’s statement, the market will respond positively to the latest injection of over $64 million.

She asked the public to support the reforms in the foreign exchange market, stressing that the apex bank will continue to promote order and professionalism by participants to ensure market forces determine exchange rates.

According to reports, foreign airlines have struggled to repatriate accrued revenue, leading to threats of withdrawing their services from the Nigerian airspace.

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Nigeria is the highest debtor to foreign airlines globally

The total amount owed to foreign airlines as of July 2022 is $464 million.

The development led Emirates Airlines to suspend flight operations from Nigeria in November 2022.

TheCable reports that British Airways closed its inventory to Nigeria in the global distribution system (GDS), which prevented local travel agencies from making bookings from their portal.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) disclosed that airlines’ revenue withheld by the Nigerian government increased to $743 million from $662 million as of January 2023.

The Association said global debt owed to foreign airlines amounts to $2.27 billion, with Nigeria as the highest debtor.

IATA confirms British Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, other foreign airlines may leave Nigeria

Legit.ng reported that the International Air Transport Association has highlighted that international airlines faced challenges over trapped ticket revenues in Nigeria and other countries.

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It stated that if the situation is not quickly resolved, it could lead to foreign airlines exiting the country.

Kamil Alawadhi, the regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, International Air Transport Association, said this in an interview with Punch.

Source: Legit.ng

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Pascal Oparada (Business editor) Pascal Oparada is a Mass Communications Graduate from Yaba College of Technology with over 10 years of experience in journalism. He has worked in reputable media organizations such as Daily Independent, TheNiche newspaper, and the Nigerian Xpress. He is a 2018 PwC Media Excellence Award winner. Email:pascal.oparada@corp.legit.ng