Emirates Airlines on Thursday announced it would suspend its flight operations to Nigeria from September 1, 2022, due to rising debts in the country.
The decision by the airline comes weeks after it told Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, that it will reduce the number of flights to Nigeria from Monday, August 15 due to its failure to recover a debt of $85 million.
Emirates stated that the debt rose by more than $10 million every month, while operational costs of 11 weekly flights to Lagos and Abuja continue to accumulate.
The airlines’ spokesman, Rula Tadros, in a statement said the decision to suspend flights in and out of Nigeria was taken to limit further losses.
Tadros explained that Emirates tried “every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.”
“Regrettably, there has been no progress”, making Emirates take the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
Emirates noted that the company will render further assistance to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.