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Airlines Seek Frozen Africa Funds


FILE: Travelers wearing protective face masks at the Ndjili airport in Kinshasa, DRC on August 15, 2020, as travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.
FILE: Travelers wearing protective face masks at the Ndjili airport in Kinshasa, DRC on August 15, 2020, as travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.

PARIS - Airlines warned on Monday that service to countries in Africa and elsewhere that block the repatriation of funds is likely to suffer if there is no progress in talks to unfreeze money owed.

About $1.6 billion of funds are being withheld in Africa for various reasons, representing two thirds of the global total, the International Air Transport Association said in a briefing on strong prospects for growth in the continent's airline market.

In August, 2022, Emirates airline airline — which had been battling to repatriate its millions of dollars in revenue from Nigeria — said in a statement that it took the "difficult decision" to limit further losses by stopping service to that nation, citing circumstances "beyond our control."

In February 2023, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked Emirates to resume operations. The African leader reportedly told the Central Bank of Nigeria to make available to the airlines more foreign currency.

On March 24, 2023 Emirates said its funds were still being blocked by Abuja. The IATA was quoted then as saying that Nigeria was some $743 million in arrears.

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