The United Kingdom carrier is struggling to repatriate its share of the $575m that Nigeria currently owes to airlines globally from tickets sold, according to the Country Manager for British Airways and Iberia in Nigeria, Mr. Kola Olayinka.Spanish carrier, Iberia, had on May 12, 2016 halted flights to Lagos “due to very difficult operating circumstances and dwindling passenger numbers,” he said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Read also:ECONOMIC MELTDOWN:BRITAIN, US AND OTHER FOREIGN INVESTORS SHOULD LEAVE NIGERIA
United Airlines informed employees on Wednesday that it would end flights from the US to Nigeria on June 30 because of a lack of demand and difficulty in collecting payments.The Chief Executive Officer, IAG, the parent company for British Airways and Iberia, Mr. Willie Walsh, said last month that Iberia would stop serving Lagos after the low price of oil caused Nigeria’s economy to contract for the first time since 2004 in the first quarter.
Read also:WHO ARE THE NIGER DELTA AVENGERS, NIGERIA'S NEW OIL MILITANTS?
Limits on dollar repatriation have been imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria as reserves slip to $26.5bn, the lowest in more than a decade, from more than $30bn in early 2015.“Exiting Nigeria is a very big decision” and “not taken lightly” following London-based British Airways’ 80 years of operations in the country, Olayinka said. “I believe very strongly that we will keep evaluating the situation, but I can assure you, BA is very committed to Nigeria.”
The government is assessing the situation, while the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has suggested a flexible exchange rate regime that would end the naira’s peg to the US dollar, Olayinka said.The IAG is awaiting details of the policy “so that we can start the process of rebuilding,” he said.