The International Air Transport Association (IATA), says Nigeria has repatriated $600 million, belonging to international airlines that was trapped in the country due to foreign exchange shortages.
The Director-General of IATA, Alexandre de Juniac, disclosed this on its website on Tuesday at the 74th IATA Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit in Sydney, Australia.
The monies were proceeds from ticket sales and other allied activities which the airlines could not repatriate due to fall in crude oil earnings in late 2016 and early 2017.
De Juniac said, “We have had some recent success. The $600 million backlog in Nigeria has been cleared. We have made $120 million of progress from a peak of over $500 million in Angola.
“I encourage the government of Angola to work with airlines to help to reduce this backlog further.”
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 totalled $4.9 billion 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.