Delta Air Lines Suspends Flights To Nigeria Despite Recent Funds Release

Even with Nigeria releasing $265 million, Delta cannot afford to keep flying its JFK-LOS route.

  • Delta A350

    Delta Air Lines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    DL/DAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Hub(s):
    Boston Logan International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Year Founded:
    1929

    Alliance:
    SkyTeam

    CEO:
    Ed Bastian

    Country:
    United States

Delta Air Lines has become the third airline to announce that it will change its flight schedule to Nigeria this fall. The airline has declared that beginning in October; it will no longer serve its New York to Lagos route unless the state releases the funds due to foreign airlines. The airline has stated that it cannot continue operating this route without generating revenue. Its Atlanta to Lagos route will remain in service until further notice. This announcement comes within weeks of Emirates and British Airways’ decisions to suspend flights to the African nation. These airlines have cited the same reasons as Delta for their decisions. The Nigerian Central Bank previously claimed that releasing the funds could crash its travel economy; now, it claims that it has not had sufficient foreign currency to pay the airlines.

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Another suspended route

Delta Air Lines announced on August 29th that it would suspend all flights connecting New York (JFK) and Lagos (LOS). The route will enter its temporary suspension on October 4th. This suspension is the result of the African country withholding revenue from Delta. The airline cannot afford to continue operating this route without receiving revenue from the return trip to JFK. With operating costs rising, this unprofitable flight costs the airline more and more every month.

Delta will be suspending its JFK to LOS route this October. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

The airline insists it will keep its customers connected between the two countries for as long as possible. Despite the losses, the airline intends to continue flying its LOS-Atlanta (ATL) route. This will allow Nigerian passengers to remain connected to all the destinations Delta serves around the globe. It will also connect passengers with its partner airlines if they can better serve the passenger’s travel needs. A spokesperson for the airline told Simple Flying,


“Delta is suspending its nonstop service between New York-JFK and Lagos to fit the current demand environment. The airline continues to operate service between Lagos and Atlanta and offers connections to New York and other cities across the United States. Customers impacted by our suspended New York-JFK to Lagos service will be reaccommodated on Delta operated flights or service operated by our joint venture partners. Delta remains committed to the Nigeria market.”

US Dollars only

Amid the crisis that has stemmed from Nigeria withholding foreign airline funds, airlines have begun considering that all tickets should be purchased in US Dollars, even if that requires foreign travelers to book all flights online before arriving at the airport. Delta has gone ahead with this idea and announced that all flights to and from Nigeria are now required to be purchased in US Dollars. The spokesperson also told Simple Flying,

“Due to the ongoing issues to repatriate funds and the forex situation in Nigeria, Delta confirms that tickets for travel between Nigeria and the United States will be sold in US dollars only. The airline will no longer accept Nigerian naira.”

Global crisis

Nigeria has been withholding hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign airlines. It recently released $265 million of these funds, cutting the amount it owes roughly in half. Nevertheless, Delta, Emirates, and British Airways have decided to reduce flight frequency to the country or terminate the connecting routes altogether. The Nigerian Central bank previously claimed that it was withholding the funds because it needed them to stimulate its economy. It stated that its travel economy would completely collapse if it released the funds. In response to the persistent demands of the airlines, the bank recently stated that it had not possessed sufficient foreign currency to make the enormous exchanges.

What do you think of this announcement? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Prime Business

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