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Emirates Plans To Reduce Flights To Nigeria Due To Trapped Revenue

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Dubai’s Emirates plans to reduce flights to Nigeria this month due to troubles repatriating revenue from Africa’s most populous nation, according to a letter sent to the government last month and accessed by Reuters.

Emirates has said in the letter that plans to cut the number of flights to Lagos to seven from 11 by mid-August. The airline says it has $85 million stuck in the country as of July, a figure that had been rising by $10 million per month.

According to Reuters, industry observers say more airlines could follow suit if the central bank, which restricts access to foreign currency to tackle a severe dollar shortage, did not address airlines’ issues.

“We have no choice but to take this action, to mitigate the continued losses Emirates is experiencing as a result of funds being blocked in Nigeria,” it said in a letter to Nigerian aviation minister Hadi Sirika dated July 22.

The aviation ministry did not comment on the letter.

Trouble repatriating funds was impacting its commercial viability in Nigeria and that efforts to solve the problem had been met with limited success, Emirates said in an emailed statement.

Choosing not to comment on the letter directly, Emirates indicated it hoped to carry on its schedule as usual.

Last week, the naira’s black-market value versus the dollar dropped to a record low. The central bank said it was worried about the naira’s value, Reuters reported.

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