ASKY Airlines, the Lome- based airline has confirmed it has $15million trapped funds held with the Central Bank of Nigeria( CBN) and has been engaging International Air Transport Association ( IATA) who is engaging the apex banker’s bank to release the funds.
This is just as the airline says it is seeing more passenger flow into and out of Nigeria as the numbers have increased up to about 10 to 12 percent from Lagos.
Country Manager, Asky Airlines Nigeria, Simon Adedayo Mobolaji, also acknowledged
the impact of the Jet A1 crisis on its operations but stressed that to maintain its schedule reliability the airline has had to make stops to get fuel elsewhere to operate.
He made all these known at the sidelines of Asky’s meeting with its Trade Partners in Lagos early in the week.
On trapped funds, he said, “We have not been able to repatriate any of our trapped funds. We have been engaging IATA on this and IATA has been engaging the CBN on this. But so far, so good, we have not been able to repatriate any of our funds.
” Asky has close to $15 million that is stuck in Nigeria that we have not been able to move but we trust that with IATA support and push from the bank, we know it will be resolved. The CBN is also engaging all stakeholders to ensure the funds are released. It’s a process and we believe it is being done in batches. It is a critical aspect for us because it means our liquidity is stretched thin and we can only appeal to the CBN through IATA to help us repatriate our funds.”
On the passengers flow into and out of Nigeria, he said,”The numbers are increasing. In the last one year, we have seen passenger number growth up to about 10 to 12 percent from Lagos and Abuja we believe that as that number continues to grow, there is a need to continue to increase capacity.
“This is not just from Nigeria but other destinations across the West and Central African region. We saw a need to increase capacity in these destinations, including Nigeria.
“On a daily basis, between three hundred to four hundred passengers fly Asky from Lagos and Abuja. We deployed the Boeing 737 into Lagos and Abuja. One comes in in the morning and the other one in the evening and night stops in Lagos.
Speaking on the Jet Fuel crisis, Mobolaji said,”Aviation fuel has impacted on our operations and the impact is huge but we also understand that we have to continue to satisfy customers no matter the circumstance.
“So, we make sure we still provide our services despite that. There were days when we could not get fuel in Lagos, that we had to stop in some other places to get fuel, just to operate. So it is biting hard and the skyrocketing prices are tough but despite that, we continue to provide uninterrupted customer services.
He also hinted that ASKY would soon be moving from old terminal to new Lagos International terminal although he did not give a specific date, he said furnishing work has commenced in earnest.
“We have already secured the offices and right now, we are in the process of furnishing the offices to ensure that ticketing offices are up to standard with our brands, after which we can put a date to the launch.”