• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
businessday logo


African countries owe foreign airlines $2.36bn

IATA, ICAO partner to strengthen air transport safety standard for dangerous good

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday disclosed that as of September, $1.68bn of airlines’ funds are locked across Africa out of a global total of $2.36bn.

Kamil Alawadhi, the Regional Vice-President for Africa and the Middle East, disclosed this during the African Airlines Association’s 55th Annual General Assembly in Uganda.

He said the impact of the blocked funds in African countries  is deemed devastating for connectivity and raises concerns about the sustainability of the aviation sector,

Alawadhi noted, “Since 2018, a significant amount of blocked funds have been repatriated from Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe through working with the respective governments. Currently, $1.68bn in airline funds remain blocked across the continent.

He stressed the importance of liberating blocked airline funds by advising governments on best practices to clear backlogs.

Read also Why compensations on flight delays, cancellations should be shared responsibility – IATA

He said the repercussions of blocked funds extend beyond the airlines, adversely affecting the economies of the countries involved.

A few weeks ago, foreign airlines disclosed that about 90 per cent of their $783m trapped funds have remained unpaid.

According to data from the IATA as of August 2023, Nigeria accounted for a substantial $783m of airlines’ blocked funds.

Despite recent efforts to alleviate the situation, the airlines said a significant portion of those funds remained inaccessible.

Chima Kingsley, the Chairman of International Airline Operators, emphasised that while international banks had received some funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria, that only accounted for a fraction, less than 10 per cent, of the trapped funds.

The bulk of the blocked funds are with Nigerian commercial banks. The bulk of the money has not been paid,” he said.