Nigeria's president under pressure as insecurity spirals
Mounting attacks from jihadists and criminal gangs, including a brazen assault close to the capital, are creating a headache for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as he sees out his last six months in office. In the same month, a military checkpoint was attacked on the outskirts of the capital and a presidential security convoy was ambushed in the country's northwest.Last month, the Islamic State group's Nigerian affiliate ISWAP claimed a jailbreak outside just 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Abuja's international airport, freeing hundreds of prisoners, including 64 jihadist commanders.
Long-haul carrier Emirates will suspend flights to Nigeria from next month over an inability to repatriate funds from Africa’s most populous nation, the Dubai-based airline has said.
The decision announced on Thursday highlights the difficulties faced by international carriers that fly to Nigeria, which is one of the biggest markets in Africa.
The African country has restricted access to foreign currency for imports and for investors seeking to repatriate their profits due to a shortage of dollars. Nigeria gets about 90 percent of its foreign exchange from oil but is struggling to produce due to pipeline theft and years of under-investment.
Outrage over video of airport workers filming themselves dancing as travel chaos hits Australia
A video of airport workers filming a TikTok dance has racked up over a million views online, with travellers split over whether the staff should be sacked.The video was posted by popular house music DJ Dave Winnel on Thursday, with the producer from Sydney joking it was no surprise his bags took so long to make it into the airport.
The International Air Transport Association said in June that Nigeria was withholding $450m in revenue that international carriers operating in the country had earned.
Emirates said it had made no progress in efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention.
“Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market,” it said in a statement.
A Federal Ministry of Aviation spokesperson in Nigeria did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Emirates had sent a letter to the government saying it could cut flights to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, this month because it could not get $85m stuck in the country as of July, a figure that had been rising by $10m per month.
Emirates said it would re-evaluate its decision if the situation over the blocked funds changed in the coming days.
Affected customers would be helped to make alternative travel arrangements where possible, it added.
Amid similar foreign exchange restrictions in 2016, several airlines reduced flights and carriers Iberia and United Airlines stopped flying to Nigeria altogether. United re-launched a Nigerian service last year, but Iberia has yet to return.
In May, a number of domestic airlines suspended flights due to soaring jet fuel prices.
Revealed: The best (and worst) airlines for delays at UK airports .
The worst airline for delays at UK airports last year was Wizz Air, an investigation has found. © Other Its departures were an average 14 minutes and 24 seconds behind schedule in 2021, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data.The Hungarian company operates from 10 UK airports including Gatwick, Luton and Cardiff. Tui was second with an average delay of 13 minutes and 18 seconds, and British Airways (including subsidiary BA CityFlyer) third at 12 minutes and 42 seconds.Virgin Atlantic was fourth worst on 12 minutes, with Loganair next (11 minutes and 30 seconds).