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Emirates Airline rescinds decision to suspend flight operations to Nigeria 

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Abiola Seun Emirates Airlines has rescinded its decision to stop flight operations into Nigeria due to the airline’s earnings trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).In a notice to its customers via email, the airline said it has restored its flight operations to Lagos. The statement announcing the reinstatement reads, “We are pleased to inform you that effective from 11th September 2022, we will reinstate operations of our flights,” Emirates said on Wednesday.“Inbound flights from Dubai to Lagos (EK783) and outbound flights from Lagos to Dubai (EK784) will recommence from Sunday, 11th September 2022.“Lagos flights after 30th September 2022 will be advised in due course.”It could be recalled that the flight reinstatement came after the CBN released $265million of foreign airlines earnings trapped, and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), assured the federal government that foreign airlines will continue servicing the country.The IATA’s Regional Vice-President, Africa, and the Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi in a statement, said IATA welcomed the Nigerian Government’s release of $265m of airlines’ blocked funds, saying Nigerian government has encouraged foreign airlines by releasing $265million of the $464 million funds belonging to the foreign airlines trapped in the country.Alawahdi, however, said the international body would continue to engage the Nigerian government on the need to release the remaining trapped funds.“IATA welcomes the Nigerian Government’s release of $265m of airlines’ blocked funds. We will continue to engage with it on expediting the release of the remaining amount so that airlines can continue providing the connectivity Nigeria requires without disrupting and harming its economy and jobs,” Alawahdi said.He continued, “We encourage other countries, in Africa and elsewhere, that are blocking the repatriation of foreign airlines’ funds, to follow Nigeria’s example and release the money they are withholding. Without it, airlines cannot afford to serve those countries. This would be detrimental to the people and businesses that depend on the market connectivity those airlines provide.“IATA speaks and leads the industry on matters of common interest. While IATA cannot speak for individual airlines, we hope the release of blocked funds with assurances and safeguards to prevent a recurrence, will persuade affected carriers to continue serving Nigeria.”

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