In a move to check a brewing crisis in the aviation sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released $265 million to airlines operating to settle outstanding ticket sales.
A breakdown of the figure shows that $230 million was released as special FX intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through the Retail SMIS auction.
Confirming the release, in a statement, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi said: “The Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travellers as well as the country in the comity of nations”.
He reiterated that the CBN was “not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the Bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so”.
The CBN noted that with the release, it is expected that operators and travellers as well will heave a huge sigh of relief as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face of unremitted funds for the outstanding sale of tickets”.
On the 18th of August 2022, Emirate Airlines announced it “has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 01 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market”.
The airline however noted that “should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will, of course, re‑evaluate our decision”.