His words, “IATA is disappointed that the amount of airline money blocked from repatriation by the Nigerian government grew to $464 million in July.
This is airline money and its repatriation is protected by international agreements in which Nigeria participates. IATA’s many warnings that failure to restore timely repatriation will hurt Nigeria with reduced air connectivity are proving true with the withdrawal of Emirates from the market.
“Airlines cannot be expected to fly if they cannot realize the revenue from ticket sales. Loss of air connectivity harms the local economy, hurts investor confidence, and impacts jobs and people’s livelihoods. It’s time for the Government of Nigeria to prioritize the release of airline funds before more damage is done.”
Alawahdi had at the IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Doha in June described as unacceptable the withholding of international airlines’ funds to $450 million. The amount is more than four other African nations put together.
“We keep chipping away and hoping that it clicks that this is going to damage the country down the road,” he told reporters in Doha, Qatar, on the eve of IATA’s annual meeting of airline chiefs holding this week.