Dubai’s Emirates to resume Lagos flights after Nigeria releases funds

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DUBAI, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Emirates will resume some flights to Nigeria this month after the Central Bank of Nigeria released a portion funds the Dubai airline had earned in the country but had not been able to repatriate.

An airline spokesperson said flights to Lagos will resume from Sept. 11, though it is not possible to resume flights to Abuja in September because resources had already been stood down.

“We continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to ensure the repatriation of our outstanding and future funds may continue without hindrance,” the spokesperson said, welcoming what it said was the central bank’s move to release a portion of its blocked funds.

The airline did not say how much money had been released or how much remained blocked.

The state-owned carrier last month announced it was suspending all flights to Nigeria from Sept. 1 after it said it had made no progress with local authorities to access its funds.

Nigeria’s Central Bank later said it had released $265 million to airlines to settle outstanding ticket sales.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the largest airline group, had said that by July Nigeria was blocking airlines from repatriating $464 million in revenue.

(Reporting by Alexander CornwellEditing by David Goodman)

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