Lufthansa Airlines Will Not Rush Out Of Nigeria

This is a good news or a sigh of relieve for those who think the Nigerian aviation is industry is only set for doom.

Claus Becker, Lufthansa AG’s managing director for sub-Saharan Africa said the airline will not rush to leave Nigeria. In an interview he had with journalists in Kenya, Becker told Bloomberg that Lufthansa has only made “minor adjustments” to its winter flights to Nigeria.

International airlines operating in Nigeria have been unable to repatriate their dollar denominated funds from Nigeria. According to IATA, all international airlines combined are owed about USD 500 million as at May. The development has led to the exit of Iberia and Delta from the market.

However, Becker said Lufthansa will not be in a rush to quit the market saying:

“We always take a very thorough and cautious approach — there will be no erratic decisions on our side,” Becker said in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital. “The size and magnitude of Nigeria as a market is so immense.”

Lufthansa is looking at reaching a resolution with the Nigerian government on how its funds can be released, perhaps in phases. To reduce its exposure to the Lagos-Frankfurt route, giving more weighting to Nairobi, to reap from the country’s thriving tourism sector.

To stem the tide of companies leaving or threatening to leave Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN announced that it will be introducing a “flexible” Forex system where certain companies can access Forex at interbank or official rate. However, the continuous delay in the implementation of the policy might increase volatility in the market.

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