The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says Nigeria has repatriated the 600 million dollars belonging to international airlines that was trapped in the country due to foreign exchange shortages.
The Director-General of IATA, Mr Alexandre de Juniac, on Tuesday on its website gave the credence at the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Sydney, Australia.
Newsmen reports that the funds were airlines’ ticket sales and other allied activities which the country could not repatriate due to fall in crude oil earnings in late 2016 and early 2017.
According to de Juniac, we have had some recent success. The 600 million dollars backlog in Nigeria has been cleared. And we have made 120 million dollars of progress from a peak of over 500 million dollars in Angola.
“I encourage the government of Angola to work with airlines to help to reduce this backlog further,’’ he said.
de Juniac called on governments yet to clear theirs to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable the airlines to repatriate their funds.
According to him, the amount of airline funds blocked in 16 countries totaled 4.9 billion dollars at the end of 2017.
He said that five out of the 16 countries which owed the airlines included Venezuela ($3.78 billion), Angola ($386 million), Sudan ($170 million), Bangladesh ($95 million) and Zimbabwe ($76 million).
“The connectivity provided by aviation is vital to economic growth and development. Aviation supports jobs and trade, and helps people to lead better lives.
“But airlines need to have confidence that they will be able to repatriate their revenues in order to bring these benefits to markets,’’ de Juniac said.