British Airways May Stop Flying to Nigeria
British Airways is reconsidering its services to Nigeria even as sister carrier Iberia and U.S. competitor United Airlines halt flights to the country due to bad economy.
The Airlines is struggling to repatriate its share of the $575 million that Nigeria currently owes to airlines globally from tickets sold in the West African nation, said Kola Olayinka, country manager for British Airways.
Iberia had on May 12 stoped flying to Lagos “due to very difficult operating circumstances and dwindling passenger numbers,” Kola Olayinka said.
IATA Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler met with Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo this week, the lobby group warned that Lagos could lose its role as a hub to West Africa.
United Airlines informed employees on Wednesday that it would end flights from the U.S. to Nigeria on June 30 because of a lack of demand and difficulty in collecting payments.
“Exiting Nigeria is a very big decision” and “not taken lightly” following London-based British Airways’ 80 years of operations in the country, Olayinka said. “I believe very strongly that we will keep evaluating the situation, but I can assure you, BA is very committed to Nigeria.”
According to Olayinka "The government is assessing the situation while Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele has suggested a flexible exchange rate regime that would end the naira’s peg to the U.S. dollar," as IAG awaits details of the policy “so that we can start the process of rebuilding,” he added.