British Airways considers measures to unlock trapped funds, including suspension of flights to Nigeria with effect from December 2022.

The British national carrier closed its inventory in Nigeria and warned travel agents against accepting local currency for its flights.

Nigeria’s National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) wrote to its members last week to advise on the new developments.

NANTA specifically warned members not to issue or pay for tickets beyond December 2022.

This is because BA may have threatened to suspend flights after a December deadline issued to Nigerian government.

British Airways considers suspension
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika

Here is the NANTA notice to its members:

“The National Executive Council of NANTA just concluded a business meeting with British Airways. British Airways conveys assurance that it remains committed to servicing the needs of travel agencies in Nigeria.

“Members may be aware that British Airways closed inventory this morning. Please be informed that, this inventory closure is a necessary action taken by British Airways to mitigate increase of their trapped funds.

“However, British Airways provides reassurance that it is still flying in and out of Nigeria and is currently seeking earnest solutions to adress the demands of its customers.”

A second advisory from NANTA warned members to issue only dollar tickets as British Airways considers suspension of Nigerian flights.

“They have also given the Nigerian government a December deadline… Please do not pay for or issue tickets beyond December.

“We will update you as soon as we receive any new developments,” the communication read.

Foreign Airlines take action

Foreign airlines say the Central Bank of Nigeria failed to release about $600million funds from sales of tickets.

Emirates Airlines said in a statement that it “tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria,.”

“We have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.”

“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022.

The decision is “to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market,” the Airline said.