Nigeria: Emirates Returns to Nigeria With Reduced Flights

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) airline, Emirates, yesterday officially suspended flight to Nigeria as earlier announced over the difficulty in repatriating funds from ticket sales.

However, the Airline would resume again on September 11 following the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release $256m, being part payment of the entire blocked funds belonging to foreign carriers.

Prior to the release made to the airline, Emirates had reduced its flights to Nigeria from 11 to seven by mid-August and said it would suspend all flights from Nigeria by September 1.

In line with the announcement, the airline has closed fresh bookings on the website and the platform for travel agents as the suspension took effect today.

But the intervention by the CBN, which has also been applauded by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), saw many foreign airlines including British Airways reviewing their initial plans to leave the Nigerian Market.

Emirates has also confirmed reinstating the Nigerian route though with reduced frequencies at the initial stage.

The airline would return to Lagos by September 11 with four weekly flights, it was learnt.

Confirming this in a statement on Thursday, Emirates said it would continue to engage the Nigerian authorities to repatriate outstanding funds.

The statement read: “Emirates welcomes the Central Bank of Nigeria’s move to release a portion of our blocked funds, and we continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to ensure the repatriation of our outstanding and future funds may continue without hindrance.

“In light of these developments, Emirates will reinstate flights to/from Lagos from 11 September, which is the earliest date for us to coordinate the smooth and safe resumption of operations. It will also provide travellers with sufficient time to plan and book their journeys.

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