The International Air Transport Association, on Tuesday, disclosed that the trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria have reached $743,721,097 from $662m in January 2023.
IATA disclosed this in a letter addressed to Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, signed by Samson Fatokun, the Area Manager West and Central Africa.
According to the letter, IATA and the global airline community seek an intervention from the minister for the resolution of airlines blocked funds issues in Nigeria.
“For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world. Please find attached the comparative table of airlines’ blocked funds by country.
“Moreover, as of January 2023, airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria have increased to $743.721.092 from $662m in January 2023 and $549m in December 2022.”
Hadi Sirika on Tuesday 14th March met with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Foreign airlines operators to discuss the salient issues affecting the organizations and the country.
While stating Nigeria’s commitment to the Bilateral Air Service Agreement, he assured them that the aviation Ministry is concerned, and will do her very best to resolve the matter of blocked funds as soon as possible.
He stated further that the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria and it is not what the ministry can handle alone else it would have been resolved immediately.
He urged the International Airline Operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issue bearing in mind the effects of Covid 19 and recession the country had experienced.
Speaking earlier, Samson Fatokun, who led the delegation said the global airline community would like to appeal to the Honourable Minister for special intervention in resolving of airline blocked funds issues in Nigeria. He said the airlines are facing the collateral damage and the average Nigeria is bearing the brunt of this issue.
Susan Akporiaye, President National Association of Nigerian travel Agencies (NANTA) added that it is a very difficult time for travel agents as some are already giving up on the industry and going into other business.
“It is our loss and also the loss of the country as we don’t sell more ticket like we use to, and this will further increase the unemployment situation if this issue is not attended to,’’ Akporiaye added.