Why Emirates Airlines suspended Nigerian operations

The world’s most popular airlines, Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways have suspended flights to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Emirates Airlines is one of the biggest foreign airlines operating in Nigeria. The firms has confirmed it would stop flights effective October 22.

Kenya Airways on the other hand, announced that it would suspend flights to and from Abuja with effect from November 15, 2016.

Emirates Airline wrote the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, over its intention to stop flights from Abuja.

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The company said she’s stopping flights into the nation’s capital due to its inability to buy foreign exchange.

The airline also said it would further suspend Lagos operations indefinitely and with that exit the Nigerian market.

Emirates has huge sums for ticket sales with the banks which it has not been able to repatriate.

About two months ago, foreign airlines’ funds trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was put at $900 million.

The Buhari led government granted the airlines access to FX to enable them repatriate about 50 per cent of their ticket sales.

This is one of the major reasons why Emirates, like other foreign airlines, are exiting the Nigerian market in droves.

Besides their huge funds trapped in Nigeria, the recession has also led to a reduction in passenger traffic.

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When contacted, the airlines’ media office in Lagos confirmed the suspension of Abuja flights.

“Emirates can confirm that it’s suspending its weekly flight service between Abuja, Nigeria and Dubai.

“The decision was made after a review of the airline’s operations to ensure the best utilization of its aircraft fleet for its overall business objectives.

“The airline continues to serve Nigeria with a daily flight to and from Lagos but will soon suspend that route too.”