A fresh crisis looms in the aviation industry as some foreign airlines have concluded plans to quote and receive payment for tickets only in the United States dollars. The situation is as a result of their inability to repatriate funds out of the country due to scarcity of the US currency.
Over $2 billion of foreign airlines’ debts have been trapped in the country since October last year, a situation that has affected their operations. The airlines hinted that the new policy on forex by Nigeria could hinder them from transferring their salaries to their respective home countries.
A growing challenge for international airlines operating in Nigeria is the repatriation of funds. Given Nigeria’s acute foreign exchange shortage, airlines have struggled to repatriate their sales proceeds to their home countries. According to stakeholders, a weekly clearance plan for the blocked funds was put in place by the authorities.
This, they said, has had very limited impact on the backlog of funds trapped in the country. Consequently, some of the airlines’ booking and payment platforms, particularly, that of Delta and United Airlines’ could not be accessed as intending passengers could only pay directly in the airline’s offices or pay outside the shores of Nigeria.
Travel Management Companies (TMCs) were shocked with the discoveries as passengers, who usually patronise them for their travel needs, called endlessly for assistance. For instance, passengers in Nigeria, who intended to travel to New York via Delta Air, made frantic efforts to make payment, but all to no avail.