After many months of stalemate, IATA, the trade association of commercial international airlines said Nigeria has paid up about 42% of the total blocked revenue it was owing international airlines.
It would be recalled that in June, IATA had complained that while Venezuela blocking the release of about USD3,78 billion, Nigeria was also blocking about USD591 million revenue of international airlines’ ticket sales.
IATA confirmed that Nigeria has paid 42% of the blocked revenue and it is looking at working out a payment schedule with Nigerian government on how it would get the remaining funds.
IATA Chief Executive Alexandre de Juniac told Reuters that “Up to now, we haven’t been able to have a unified approach without breaking anti-trust rules,”
“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.
Venezuela has not shown any commitment to pay the funds, The country’s economy has been in recession and it is facing the worst Forex crisis since global oil oil price fell by 70%.
As a result of the tough economic climate, many international airlines have left Nigeria. Iberia and Alitalia have both left the country citing slowing traffic of passengers to their main hubs in Europe.
Other national carriers from Europe such as Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Air France KLM and middle Eastern carriers are still managing to weather the storm.
Last two weeks, Tarkan Ince, the Lagos country manager of Turkish Airlines told journalists in Lagos that Turkish Airlines was prepared to stick to Nigeria no matter what. According to him ‘we believe the current challenges will normally pass and things will normalise’. While he acknowledged the tough conditions confronting airlines, Tarkan, said Turkish Airlines is in Nigeria to stay.
In July, West African head for Lufthansa German Airlines also corroborated Turkish Airlines’ stand that the airline would not rush to make harsh decision of rushing out of Nigeria.