IATA appeals to FG over foreign airlines’ $743m trapped funds

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With trapped funds hitting $743 million, International Air Transport Association (IATA) has, again, appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action in assisting foreign airlines to repatriate their revenue.

During a courtesy call to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday, in Abuja, the body appealed for his intervention.

Area Manager, West and Central Africa, IATA, Dr. Samson Fatokun, while presenting the appeal letter to the minister, noted that for over a year, Nigeria has been the country with highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world.

He said since January this year, the trapped funds have increased to $743 million from $662 million.

Responding, Sirika assured the foreign airlines of tabling the issue before the Presidency and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) within seven days.

“We are very concerned and starting from today, we will do all we can to resolve the issue. Personally, I will take up this matter to ensure that the issue is resolved,” the minister promised.

He cautioned them to always treat Nigeria as a sovereign state in all their dealings and should never lose sight of the fact that a market of over 250 million people is not something to toy with.

Sirika pointed out that Qatar Airways with $208 million blocked, IATA, $216 million, Ethiopian, $117million and Emirates Airlines, $35million, are taking drastic measures against Nigeria, when airlines with more blocked funds are still supporting the country to survive its trying times.

He regretted that the way Emirates was going about the whole issue “is very embarrassing, as it can be easily sorted out during a breakfast meeting.”

Source: guardian

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