September 19, (THEWILL) – As of August 2023, Nigeria accounts for $783 million of foreign airlines’ blocked funds, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
To bring the blocked funds issue to a halt, IATA’s Regional Vice-President for Africa and Middle East Kamil Al Awadhii recently met with Nigeria’s new Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, during which he called on the new government for continued, but closer, consultation with the industry while developing short- and long-term solutions for foreign exchange access to both domestic and foreign carriers.
Al Awadhi said, “Safety, security, and efficient infrastructure are critical for a well-functioning air transport system. So is the ability of airlines to have access to the revenues they generate in Africa. These priorities are among the key elements addressed under IATA’s Focus Initiative to strengthen aviation’s contribution to Africa’s economic and social development. Nigeria’s focus on these issues reinforces their position among the leaders of African aviation”.
Similarly, IATA says that the body welcomes the commitment of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to improving infrastructure and service levels at Lagos’s Murtala Muhammad International Airport within twelve months.
This follows a number of safety, security and passenger service level concerns in Lagos airport raised by IATA member airlines over the past year.
A high-level meeting between IATA and FAAN, represented by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Mr Kabir Yusuf Mohammed, last Friday culminated in the FAAN undertaking to expedite improvements in these areas under a corrective action plan.
“We welcome FAAN’s commitment to upgrade Lagos airport. It is the main domestic and international hub connecting Nigeria with the rest of Africa and beyond and needs to keep up with demand. This strategic focus not only enhances the aviation sector but also serves as a catalyst for Nigeria’s broader economic and social advancement. IATA stands ready to support the FAAN with expertise to ensure international standards are met through the corrective action plan”, Kamil Al Awadhi added.