Two foreign airlines have cancelled their operations in Nigeria in the last six weeks, citing similar reasons for their exit from Africa’s most populous country.
Spain’s national airline, Iberia Plc, was the first to jump ship when it announced last April, that it would stop operations in and out of Nigeria from May 12.
Many observers warned immediately that Iberia’s exit from Nigeria could be just the beginning, as they predicted that more could follow and today, May 27, 2016, just six weeks after Iberia left, the prediction came to pass as United States carrier, United Airlines stopped its operation in Nigeria.
Why did they leave?
1.Dwindling Passengers: Both airlines cited cited ‘dwindling passenger figures’ as their reasons for ending their operations in Nigeria.
2.Nigeria’s $575m (N113.28bn as of March) debt to foreign airlines. The challenge of getting their ticket fares from the FG is making it difficult for foreign airlines to operate gainfully in Nigeria. Highlighting the reason for United Airline’s exit from Nigeria, its spokesman, Jonathan Guerin said, “Repatriation is a significant issue as has been a downturn in the energy sector.
3.Nigeria’s dwindling forex reserve: The International Air Transport Association said that funds belonging to foreign airlines, which had been trapped in the country due to the Federal Government’s policy on foreign exchange, was a major challenge to their operations.
4.Aviation Fuel scarcity: The rationing of aviation fuel by marketers of the product is another factor that led to the exit of two foreign airlines from Nigeria.