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Delta To Suspend Flights To Nigeria From New York
Delta Air Lines announced this past Monday that it is suspending its flights to Nigeria from New York over continuing concerns over its ability to repatriate money currently locked in this African nation. The airline says that it cannot afford to continue operating this route without receiving payment from the return trip from Lagos to JFK. With operating costs increasing, this profitless flight costs the airline more and more every month. The route will enter its temporary suspension on October 4th.
“Delta is suspending its nonstop service between New York-JFK and Lagos to fit the current demand environment,” Delta said in an official statement.
The Atlanta-based airline however said that it continues to operate flights to Nigeria from Atlanta and offers onward connections to New York and other cities across the United States.
“Customers impacted by our suspended New York-JFK to Lagos service will be re-accommodated on Delta -operated flights or services operated by our joint venture partners. Delta remains committed to the Nigeria market.”
Delta also informed that it will no longer accept the Nigerian naira. All tickets between the USA and Nigeria will be sold in USD only and only available via online booking so that the money does not remain trapped in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government has not responded specifically to the service suspension but has claimed it does not have sufficient foreign currency reserves for airlines to withdraw.
In fact, other carriers such as Emirates and British Airways operating in Nigeria had previously expressed concern that large sums were being held up in the country due to the inability to access repatriation funds. In order to meet the demand from international airlines, the Central Bank of Nigeria released 265 million dollars to settle outstanding ticket sales, the monetary authority confirmed in a resolution issued this month. However, this amount of money is only half of what airlines have been able to remove from the country.