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IATA urges Pakistan, Bangladesh to release blocked airline funds

By AFP

June 4, 2024 01:41 PM


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The International Air Transport Association on Tuesday urged Pakistan and Bangladesh to remove barriers to airlines repatriating ticket revenues after Nigeria released the vast majority of blocked funds.

Pakistan and Bangladesh collectively owe $731 million out of a global total of $1.8 billion in blocked airline funds, according to the world trade body.

Several countries have encountered difficulties repatriating funds due to falls in the value of their currencies, a lack of US dollars, or red tape.

"We are encouraging them to prioritise the airlines' money, because this is very important for their economic and also airline activities," said Xie Xingquan, IATA's regional vice-president for North Asia.

In Pakistan, the main problem is delays over requirements for airlines to submit audit and tax exemption certificates, he said.

"In Bangladesh, I think the key issue is they just lack the US dollars for foreign currencies," said Xie.

Nigeria has cleared 98 percent of blocked funds which in June 2023 amounted to $850 million, IATA said Sunday.

"We are on the right path and urge the government to clear the residual $19 million and continue prioritizing aviation," said Willie Walsh, IATA's director general.

Carriers had faced problems in repatriating revenues in US dollars from Nigeria after a devaluation of the local currency.

The high volume of blocked funds led some airlines to reduce their operations and one carrier to suspend operations to Nigeria, IATA said.

Egypt also approved the clearance of its blocked funds, IATA said, which combined with Nigeria helped reduce the total backlog by some 28 percent since December last year.

Lebanon, Ethiopia and Algeria are among the other countries that have yet to release funds owed to airlines, according to IATA.


AFP


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