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Trapped Funds: British Airways Blocks Travel Agents From Paying In Naira, Mulls Flight Suspension

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As the issue of trapped $464m foreign airlines’ funds lingers, British Airways may stop flying to Nigeria as from December 1, 2022.

The United Kingdom airline this morning closed inventory which means travel agents would not be able to issue fresh tickets for their clients, but individuals can buy tickets only online, only in dollars.

The decision, according to BA, was to mitigate the effect of blocked funds as foreign airlines plan to take drastic action including suspension of flights to pressure the Federal Government to release their funds.

Already, Emirates Airlines will suspend flights by September 1 over the same issue as the UAE carrier has over $85m trapped in Nigeria.

The Association advised its members not to issue or pay for tickets beyond December following the new development and deadline issued to the Nigerian government by BA.

The NANTA memo read: “The National Executive Council of NANTA just concluded a business meeting with British Airways and British Airways conveys assurance that it remains committed to servicing the needs of travel agencies in Nigeria.

“As members may be aware that British Airways closed inventory this morning, please be informed that this inventory closure is a necessary action taken by British Airways to mitigate the increase of their trapped funds.

“However, British Airways provides reassurance that it is still flying in and out of Nigeria and is currently seeking earnest solutions to address the demands of its customers.”

In another development, another communication to the travel agents revealed that tickets can only be issued online with payment made in dollars.

“The above message is the new development with regards to British airways. Tickets will be issued in USD henceforth and only online.

“They have also given the Nigerian government a deadline in December. By which time if payment isn’t made, they will stop all flights into and out of Nigeria.

“Please do not pay for or issue tickets beyond December. We will update you as soon as we receive any new developments,” the communication read.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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