Market News

Why foreign airlines want more frequencies into Nigeria — IATA - VANGUARD

JUNE 20, 2024

By Dickson Omobola

The International Air Transport Association, IATA, has revealed the reason foreign airlines are applying for extra frequency into the country, saying the clearing of blocked funds belonging to airlines by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, renewed their confidence in the Nigerian market.

IATA, in an email to Vanguard, also said the release of inventories from which the Nigerian market was formerly restricted was another indication of their desire to keep operating into the country.

Spokesperson for IATA, Katherine Kaczynska, in the mail, stated: “Given the additional capacity the airlines have been deploying in the Nigerian market since the clearing of the backlog of blocked funds, we can arguably say they still have confidence in the market.

“Airlines have now opened their inventories closed to the Nigerian market, some have returned to the complete frequency they operated prior to the reduction caused by blocked funds and other carriers that left the market have announced their return. Moreover, some have applied for additional frequency into Nigeria.”

Kaczynska, who noted that travellers from Nigeria had been enjoying lower fares due to the development, said further: “They should also expect more frequencies, more flight options to travel.

”Invariably, they would benefit from more competition among the operators in terms of lower fares and enhanced services.”

On whether the Federal Government had put in place mechanisms to ensure foreign airlines did not experience trapped funds in the future, she said: “No. We are not aware of any system put in place by the Nigerian government to mitigate a recurrence.”

On June 2, IATA said the federal government had paid 98 per cent of foreign airlines’ blocked funds, noting that the balance left was only $19 million out of $850 million.

Therefore, RwandAir, which reduced its daily frequencies to five flights weekly, has returned to daily flights to Lagos from Kigali, while maintaining its four weekly flights to Abuja.

Similarly, Kenya Airways has increased its frequencies to Lagos from seven to 10.

Also, Delta Air Lines said it would be operating seven flights to Lagos from New York. Before that announcement, Delta operated daily service between Atlanta and Lagos and, with the resumption of daily New York-JFK service, it will offer a total of 14 weekly flights to Nigeria in December through the first half of January and 10 weekly flights for the remainder of winter 2024.


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