BRITISH Airways has denied rumours that to plans to stop flying to Nigeria like several other airlines who have announced plans to pull out of the country due to foreign exchange problems that have made it hard for them to remit money.
US carrier United Airlines has announced that it plans to stop flying to Nigeria next month in response to dwindling passenger numbers brought about by the downturn in the country’s economy and the foreign exchange scarcity. By far the largest US operator, United Airlines flies daily into Lagos, which is its only African venture and at the time, it was seen as part of a wider expansionist drive.
Also, six weeks ago, Spain’s national carrier Iberia, stopped flights to Nigeria, citing dwindling passenger traffic as the reason. British Airways has denied reports that it too is pulling out of Nigeria due to the operating environment.
Kola Olayinka, BA’s country manager said: “Our attention has been called to reports in several newspapers that British Airways is considering an exit from Nigeria. British Airways has a long history in Nigeria, having begun operations in the country 80 years ago as Imperial Airways.
“Nigeria remains a strategic market for BA and our operations locally are very strong. We have not issued any statements at any time indicating that we are on the verge of terminating operations in the country and we will continue to operate to Nigeria.”
He denied the reports and indicated that Nigeria remains a strategic market for the airline and will continue to operate in Nigeria. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), funds belonging to foreign airlines, which had been trapped in Nigeria due to the federal government’s foreign exchange policy, stood at $575m as of March this year.