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Foreign airlines’ trapped funds hit $783m — IATA

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The International Air Transport Association has said that as of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783m of airlines’ blocked funds.

This was contained in a statement by the trade association which said that the IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, Kamil Al Awadhi has had engagements with the Federal Government to resolve the situation.

It was earlier reported that foreign airlines operating in the country have been unable to repatriate their commercial revenue amid a protracted scarcity of forex.

The statement read in part, “Mr Al Awadhi also met with Nigeria’s new Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, the Honorable Minister Festus Keyamo, during which he called on the new government for continued, but closer, consultation with the industry while developing short- and long-term solutions for foreign exchange access to both domestic and foreign carriers.  As of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783m of airlines’ blocked funds.”

According to the statement, the IATA is impressed with the commitment of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to improving infrastructure and service levels at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within twelve months.

It noted that last year, the IATA raised concerns over a number of safety, security and passenger service level concerns at the Lagos airport.

It said a high-level meeting between IATA and FAAN, represented by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kabir Mohammed, last Friday, culminated in FAAN undertaking to expedite improvements in these areas under a corrective action plan.

IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East, Kamil Al Awadhi said, “We welcome FAAN’s commitment to upgrade Lagos airport. It is the main domestic and international hub connecting Nigeria with the rest of Africa and beyond and needs to keep up with demand.

“This strategic focus not only enhances the aviation sector but also serves as a catalyst for Nigeria’s broader economic and social advancement. IATA stands ready to support the FAAN with expertise to ensure international standards are met through the corrective action plan.

“Safety, security, and efficient infrastructure are critical for a well-functioning air transport system. So is the ability of airlines to have access to the revenues they generate in Africa.“

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