Foreign airlines’ blocked funds in Nigeria hit $812m -IATA

…Says interconnectivity being threatened
By Chinelo Obogo


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said that blocked funds belonging to foreign airlines trapped in Nigeria has hit $812.2 million.

The world airline body made this known at its annual general meeting and world air transport summit taking place June 4 to June 6 in Istanbul, Turkey, warning that rapidly rising levels of blocked funds are a threat to airline connectivity in the affected markets.

The industry’s blocked funds have increased by 47% to $2.27 billion in April 2023 from $1.55 billion in April 2022.

The top five countries that account for 68.0% of blocked funds are Nigeria with the highest trapped funds ($812.2 million), Bangladesh ($214.1 million), Algeria ($196.3 million), Pakistan ($188.2 million), Lebanon ($141.2 million)

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh said, “Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets.

‚ÄúGovernments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation.”

IATA urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate these funds arising from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.

IATA also released a new report showing that reported unruly passenger incidents increased in 2022 compared to 2021. The body called for more states to take the necessary authority to prosecute passengers under Montreal Protocol 2014 (MP14).

Latest figures show that there was one unruly incident reported for every 568 flights in 2022, up from one per 835 flights in 2021. The most common categorisations of incidents in 2022 were non-compliance, verbal abuse and intoxication. Physical abuse incidents remain very rare, but these had an alarming increase of 61% over 2021, occurring once every 17,200 flights.

“The increasing trend of unruly passenger incidents is worrying. Passengers and crew are entitled to a safe and hassle-free experience on board. For that, passengers must comply with crew instructions. While our professional crews are well trained to manage unruly passenger scenarios, it is unacceptable that rules in place for everyone‚Äôs safety are disobeyed by a small but persistent minority of passengers. There is no excuse for not following the instructions of the crew,‚ÄĚ IATA‚Äôs Deputy Director General, Conrad Clifford, said.




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