According to BBC, two international airlines are pulling out of Nigeria, as the country faces its worst economic crisis in twenty five years. One of those airlines is Iberia, a Spanish airline that cancelled all its flights last month. The other is United Airlines, an American Airline (the third largest American air carrier) that has confirmed its withdrawal from the Nigerian Airspace by the end of this month.
No FOREX for Airlines
The air companies say that a reducing demand for flights and foreign exchange restrictions are the major reasons why they have chosen to leave the country. The plunge in global oil prices is also another issue which has decreased Nigeria’s growth and has led to a shortage of foreign exchange reserves. This is the latest example of the economic crisis affecting Africa’s largest economy.
Last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced strict administrative controls to ensure that foreign reserves were made available for a few priority sectors, which apparently did not include the air companies. It is now reported that up to $1 billion (£691 million) of the industry’s earnings may be trapped in the country.
Several other international air companies- including British airways and Emirates, will continue flying to Nigeria.