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International Air Transport Association (IATA) has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for releasing $265m out of foreign airlines’ blocked funds accumulated for the sale of flight tickets.
In a statement by Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President Africa and the Middle East, the body said: “IATA welcomes the Nigerian Government’s release of $265m of airlines’ blocked funds. We will continue to engage with it on expediting the release of the remaining amount so that airlines can continue providing the connectivity Nigeria requires without disrupting and harming its economy and jobs.
“We encourage other countries, in Africa and elsewhere, that are blocking the repatriation of foreign airlines’ funds, to follow Nigeria’s example and release the money they are withholding. Without it, airlines cannot afford to serve those countries. This would be detrimental to the people and businesses that depend on the market connectivity those airlines provide.
“IATA speaks and leads the industry on matters of common interest. While IATA cannot speak for individual airlines, we hope the release of blocked funds with assurances and safeguards to prevent a recurrence, will persuade affected carriers to continue serving Nigeria.
“Even after this welcome and sizeable release, there will still be more than $200m of airlines funds blocked in Nigeria.”
As previously reported by IATA, the following other African countries continue to block airlines’ funds:
• Zimbabwe ($100m)
• Algeria ($96m)
• Eritrea ($79m)
• Ethiopia ($75m)