Nigeria's indebtedness to foreign airlines rises to $783 million

Nigeria’s indebtedness to foreign airlines rises to $783 million

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Nigeria’s indebtedness to foreign airlines operating in the country has again skyrocketed to $783 million.

The Director-General of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Mr Kamil Alwadhi, revealed this while commending Nigeria for addressing the foreign airlines’ blocked funds.

According to Al Alwadhi, as of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783 million of airline blocked funds.

The IATA DG, in particular, welcomed the commitment of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to improving infrastructure and service levels at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within twelve months.

This follows a number of safety, security, and passenger service level concerns raised by IATA member airlines at Lagos Airport over the past year. A high-level meeting between IATA and FAAN, represented by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kabir Yusuf Mohammed, last Friday culminated in FAAN’s undertaking to expedite improvements in these areas under a corrective action plan.

Commending Nigeria, Kamil Al Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, declared: “We welcome FAAN’s commitment to upgrade Lagos airport.

It is the main domestic and international hub connecting Nigeria with the rest of Africa and beyond, and it needs to keep up with demand.

This strategic focus not only enhances the aviation sector but also serves as a catalyst for Nigeria’s broader economic and social advancement. IATA stands ready to support FAAN with expertise to ensure international standards are met through the corrective action plan”.

Al Alwadhi also met with Nigeria’s new Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, during which he called on President Bola Tinubu’s government for continued, but closer, consultation with the industry while developing short- and long-term solutions for foreign exchange access to both domestic and foreign airlines.

His words: “Safety, security, and efficient infrastructure are critical for a well-functioning air transport system. So is the ability of airlines to have access to the revenues they generate in Africa.

These priorities are among the key elements addressed under IATA’s Focus Africa initiative to strengthen aviation’s contribution to Africa’s economic and social development. Nigeria’s focus on these issues reinforces their position among the leaders of African aviation.”

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