Nigeria is planning to unlock revenue from the sale of tickets on international airlines and launch Nigeria Air by May

March 24th 2023, 2:35:07 pm
Nigeria is set to release funds from foreign airlines' ticket sales and begin operations for Nigeria Air by May
  • Nigeria aims to release all proceeds from ticket sales on foreign airlines.
  • This is due to the severe dollar shortages being experienced in the country. 
  • Additionally, Nigeria's controversial national carrier, Nigeria Air, may begin operations before the swearing-in of a new administration on May 29, 2023. 

According to Thursday's statement from Nigerian Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, the nation is working to release funds from foreign airline ticket sales that have been delayed due to a lack of dollars in the nation.

Due to severe dollar shortages, many Nigerians and businesses are forced to exchange money on the black market, where the value of the naira has been steadily declining. Some foreign airlines that sold tickets in Nigerian naira have found it challenging to get their money out of the country due to the lack of dollars

The highest amount owed by any country is $743 million, according to a spokesperson for the international airline industry association IATA, which said Nigeria was withholding last week.

A timetable for releasing the trapped funds was not given by Sirika. He claimed that while $216 million was owed to IATA airlines, Qatar Airlines had $201 million blocked.


"We are doing our best to get the monies released," Sirika told reporters in Abuja.

The majority of Emirates airline's funds had been removed from Nigeria, but about $35 million still needed to be released, he continued.

The central bank was instructed by President Muhammadu Buhari in February to increase the amount of foreign currency allocated to Dubai's Emirates after the airline halted operations to and from Nigeria due to a lack of available funds.

The Niger Delta's widespread crude theft and years of underinvestment have hurt output and put a strain on government finances, despite the fact that oil is Nigeria's largest source of foreign exchange. Angola briefly replaced Nigeria as Africa's top oil exporter and producer last year for a few months.

Additionally, Nigeria's controversial national carrier, Nigeria Air, may begin operations before the swearing-in of a new administration on May 29, according to Hadi Sirika, the country's minister of aviation.


On Thursday in Abuja, the minister made this announcement at the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023. “Operation of local and international flights will commence soon. Before the end of this administration, before May 29, we will fly,” Mr. Sirika said.

Negotiation meetings with the Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Federal Government of Nigeria are ongoing. Next step: Federal Executive Council approval of the Full Business Case.” He added.

Also, according to Mr. Sirika, the national carrier will boost the GDP of the nation, promote hospitality and tourism, support the expansion and development of Nigeria's agricultural industry, and generate jobs near the Agro-Cargo Terminals.

Chinedu Okafor
Chinedu is a Senior Reporter at Business Insider Africa with 5 years experience creating profoundly engaging and insightful content.


Our newsletter gives you access to a curated selection of the most important stories daily.
Oops! An error Occured

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: