Stuck in Lagos? Airlines operating in Nigeria have been struggling to get their hands on local currency earned from ticket sales, thanks to ongoing dollar shortages. The good news: Nigeria’s central bank just released an extra $64.4 million to foreign airlines, finally settling some verified claims.
But wait, there’s more… This latest payment only scratches the surface, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). They reckon there’s still a whopping $700 million stashed away in Nigerian banks, patiently waiting to return home to its airline owners.
Why the hold-up? Blame it on the dollar drought. Nigeria’s been grappling with limited foreign currency reserves since 2016, making it tough for companies to access those precious greenbacks. Add to this the naira’s recent nosedive – losing over 40% of its value against the dollar this month alone – and you’ve got a recipe for trapped revenue.
IATA, on behalf of its airline members, isn’t exactly thrilled. They’re urging the Nigerian government to prioritize releasing the remaining funds, calling it “crucial” to maintaining the country’s international air connections. They also want to make sure airlines aren’t shortchanged by the naira’s devaluation.
So what now? The saga continues. IATA plans to keep a close eye on the situation and work with Nigerian authorities to get those grounded dollars flying again. Will it be a smooth takeoff or another bumpy landing? Stay tuned.