Emirates, Kenya Airways to discontinue Abuja, Nigeria routes
Oct 24, 2016: Emirates and Kenya Airways have both announced they will be pulling out of the Abuja, Nigeria market in the coming weeks citing the country's worsening foreign currency shortage.
Emirates said it would withdraw from the Nigerian capital on October 22 while Kenya Airways will exit from November 15 onwards. Other foreign operators that have withdrawn from the Nigerian market in past six months include Iberia and United Airlines.
Nigeria's foreign currency reserves have plummeted in the wake of low global oil prices, its main export commodity. Given that demand for hard currency currently outstrips supply, airlines have struggled to remit ticket sales to their native countries. Aside from difficulties in remitting ticket sales in foreign currency, Emirates has also had to grapple with Nigeria's Jet A1 fuel shortage re-routing some return flights to Dubai Int'l via Accra, Ghana.
Emirates President Tim Clarke has said the airline is reviewing not only its Nigerian operations, but also its African network in light of the continent's continued weak economic performance of late. Given the circumstances, Emirates expects to either withdraw from or reduce its operations in several other African markets in the coming weeks. No specific destinations were disclosed.
For its part, Kenya Airways is in the midst of a restructuring programme wherein several unprofitable routes, among them Abuja and Gaborone, Botswana, are being discontinued.
Both airlines will continue to serve Nigeria, albeit through Lagos.