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IATA commends Nigeria for resolving $831M foreign airlines fund issue



IATA commends Nigeria for resolving $831M foreign airlines fund issue

IATA commends Nigeria for resolving $831M foreign airlines fund issue

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has lauded Nigeria’s government for its swift action in clearing the backlog of $831 million in trapped funds owed to foreign airlines. Kamil Al-Awadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, delivered this commendation at the “Wings of Change Focus Africa” conference in South Africa.

In his opening address, Al-Awadhi highlighted the detrimental effects that trapped funds have on foreign airlines in various countries. He praised Nigeria for effectively resolving this issue, restoring global confidence in the country’s aviation sector. The announcement was met with widespread applause from attendees, including government officials, airline representatives, air navigation service providers, international and regional associations, aircraft manufacturers, and other stakeholders in the global civil aviation community.

Nigeria’s resolution of the trapped funds issue marks a significant achievement for the country’s aviation sector. The swift payment of over $831 million has positively impacted the operations of foreign airlines, enabling smoother transactions and fostering a more favorable business environment. This decisive action by the Nigerian government underscores its commitment to maintaining strong relations with international aviation partners and ensuring the sustainability of the industry.

In a related development, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, underscored the critical role of African Foreign Affairs Ministers in the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). During a plenary discussion at the conference, Keyamo advocated for the inclusion of Foreign Affairs Ministers in driving the full operationalization of these initiatives. He emphasized that these ministers, who are responsible for setting the agenda for the African Union (AU) Summit, must prioritize the YD and SAATM to ensure that political decisions are made to overcome existing challenges.

“To make SAATM work, it is not solely up to African Civil Aviation Ministers. We need to mobilize the African Union to remove domestic restrictions, as political leaders in Africa have the authority to direct their ministers on the way forward,” Keyamo stated.

Keyamo’s recommendation received strong support from conference participants, who viewed it as a strategic approach to achieving successful implementation and growth of civil aviation across Africa. The Yamoussoukro Declaration, which aims to liberalize air transport markets across the continent, and the SAATM initiative, designed to create a single unified air transport market in Africa, are seen as crucial steps towards enhancing connectivity, reducing costs, and promoting economic development in the region.

The IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa conference, themed “Towards a More Resilient and Sustainable African Aviation,” serves as a premier industry event in Africa. It gathers aviation leaders, regulators, and subject matter experts to discuss key challenges and opportunities in the air transport sector. This year’s conference highlighted the importance of resilience and sustainability in African aviation, focusing on innovative solutions to overcome existing obstacles and drive growth.

The commendation from IATA not only reflects Nigeria’s successful resolution of the trapped funds issue but also sets a positive precedent for other countries facing similar challenges. It demonstrates the importance of government action in fostering a conducive environment for international aviation operations and underscores the need for collaborative efforts to address industry-wide issues.

Nigeria’s proactive approach to resolving the trapped funds problem is expected to have long-term benefits for the country’s aviation sector. By ensuring timely payments to foreign airlines, the Nigerian government has reinforced its commitment to upholding international standards and maintaining strong partnerships with global aviation stakeholders. This move is likely to attract more international airlines to the country, boosting tourism and trade, and contributing to overall economic growth.

Moreover, the emphasis on strengthening the role of African Foreign Affairs Ministers in the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration and the SAATM initiative highlights the need for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to aviation development in Africa. By involving key political leaders in the decision-making process, the continent can address regulatory barriers, enhance connectivity, and create a more competitive and dynamic aviation market.

The success of the IATA Wings of Change Focus Africa conference underscores the importance of dialogue and collaboration among aviation stakeholders. It provides a platform for sharing best practices, exploring innovative solutions, and forging partnerships that can drive the future growth of the industry. As Africa continues to experience rapid economic growth and increasing demand for air travel, events like this play a crucial role in shaping the future of aviation on the continent.

In conclusion, Nigeria’s swift action in resolving the $831 million trapped funds issue has garnered international praise and restored confidence in the country’s aviation sector. The commendation from IATA highlights the significance of government intervention in addressing industry challenges and underscores the importance of collaborative efforts to drive sustainable growth in African aviation. As the continent moves towards greater connectivity and economic development, the successful implementation of initiatives like the Yamoussoukro Declaration and the SAATM will be crucial in unlocking the full potential of Africa’s aviation industry.

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