Foreign airlines operating into Nigeria can now heave a sigh of relief as the value of ticket sales owed to foreign airlines in Nigeria has been reduced by over 50 percent since June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Wednesday, adding it is making progress to recoup billions of dollars in revenues blocked by some countries.
The clearing house for global airlines in June this year put foreign airlines’ funds stranded in the Nigerian economy at N120 billion (about $600 million).
The group had appealed to the Federal Government and four others to respect international agreements obliging them to ensure airlines are able to repatriate their revenues.
The funds were proceeds from sale of tickets by the airlines in the last 12 months, which could not be repatriated due to Federal Government’s policy on foreign exchange.
Penultimate week, the Central Bank of Egypt and Egypt’s Civil Aviation Authority released $240m airlines’ funds for repatriation. Talks continue to establish an achievable payment schedule to settle the remaining amount.
Venezuela owes foreign airlines operating into the country $3,780 billion, the highest of the blocked funds, followed by Nigeria, put at $600 million, Sudan, $360 million, Egypt, $291 million and Angola, $237.
IATA, the trade association of the world’s airlines, said it wants to develop a “common strategy” where carriers act in tandem to recuperate ticket sales revenue being withheld in Venezuela.
“Up to now, we haven’t been able to have a unified approach without breaking anti-trust rules,” IATA Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told reporters in Montreal, on the sidelines of United Nations-led climate talks for the aviation sector.
“The question is (whether you can have) a unified approach to say to the state: ‘You are not fulfilling your basic obligations to pay us,’” he said.
IATA last week requested anti-trust immunity from the United States to allow the association to legally discuss routes to Venezuela, which is blocking $3.78 billion in ticket revenues from leaving the country.
Airlines are banned from coordinating routes and pricing with rivals under U.S. antitrust rules. Several major carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Lufthansa AG, have cut back on routes or stopped flying to Venezuela altogether.