Air­line rev­enue blocked across Africa

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Inside -

THE global air­line in­dus­try has $1.2bn (R17bn) blocked in nine “dol­larstrapped” African coun­tries, the In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (Iata) said yes­ter­day.

The global com­modi­ties price crash that be­gan in 2014 hit economies across Africa hard, par­tic­u­larly big re­source ex­porters such as An­gola and Nige­ria.

Low oil and min­eral prices have re­duced gov­ern­ment rev­enue and caused chronic dol­lar short­ages and im­mense pres­sure on lo­cal cur­ren­cies.

The fis­cal slump has meant govern­ments have not al­lowed for­eign air­lines to repa­tri­ate their dol­lar prof­its in full.

At an avi­a­tion meet­ing in the Rwan­dan cap­i­tal, Iata’s vice-pres­i­dent for Africa, Raphael Ku­uchi, said that air­lines were in talks with “a few govern­ments to un­block air­line funds”.

He did not spec­ify the com­pa­nies that were af­fected.

“To do busi­ness ef­fec­tively, air­lines must be able to re­li­ably repa­tri­ate their rev­enues,” Ku­uchi said.

“And that’s not the case in nine African coun­tries: An­gola, Al­ge­ria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mozam­bique, Nige­ria, Su­dan and Zim­babwe.”

Of the to­tal of $1.2bn, An­gola has blocked the largest amount, $500m, while Su­dan has held up $200m, said an­other Iata of­fi­cial, Ade­funke Adeyemi.

Last year Nige­ria owed air­lin­ers $600m but as of Oc­to­ber the amount had fallen to $221m, she said. – Reuters

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