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Forex policy: Foreign airlines begin withdrawals of operations in Nigeria

20 December 2016, 16:48

Lagos - A report has indicated that some foreign airlines operating in Nigeria are considering gradual withdrawal of operations from some Nigerian routes, Guardian reports.

According to the report, the airlines decision is informed by their inability to fully repatriate funds that are stuck in the economy.

The report stated that the funds, being proceeds of ticket sales, have again accumulated to $400 million (N160 billion) as at November, after the airlines repatriated $300 million between June and September 19, 2016.

The airlines are also said to be distraught over th the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) new policy, which mandated the airlines to sell tickets at the rate of N308 to $1, but to have them repatriated at N386 to $1.

Some of the airlines might, therefore, begin to quit routes like Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano to cut their losses, a source quoted in the report said.

It was gathered that the Turkish Airline has withdrawn from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano. The airline followed the path of Emirates and Kenyan Airways that both closed down their Abuja offices in September.

The implication is that Nigerians outside Lagos will have greater difficulty and also spend more to connect international flights.

A regional manager of one of the African airlines who spoke about the issue on the condition of anonymity, said the withdrawals was due to losses the airlines were incurring in Nigeria, despite the slow pace of repatriation.

Meanwhile unions in the aviation sector have directed the commencement of a joint strike at Arik Air, with effect from Dec. 20, over the airline’s failure to pay seven months salary arrears and other anti-labour practices according to News24.

- News 24


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