Despite the news making the rounds that some foreign carriers had concluded plans to pull out of Nigeria based on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) forex policy which has prevented the mega carriers from repatriating over $600 million being the revenue they generated in Nigeria into their various home countries, Virgin Atlantic Airways has insisted it has no such plans, according to the Tribune.
The plans by some of the foreign airlines to suspend their services to Nigeria came after the Spanish carrier, Iberia Airlines announced last week to stop operations into the country from next month.
Speaking for the British flag carrier, the Marketing and Communications Manager, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Mrs Kudirat Scott-Igbene had through a text message maintained that the airline would not close shop in the country.
She further explained that Nigeria remained a very important market to the airline, having operated flights in the country for close to 15 years. Scott-Igbene assured that the airline would remain in Nigeria and would continue to provide excellent services to its passengers.
“We have no plans to withdraw from Nigeria, which remains an important market for Virgin Atlantic.
“We are proud to have flown between Lagos and London for almost 15 years and will continue to provide our unique service to our Nigerian customers,” he said.
Before Iberia announced its pulling out of the country, international airlines operating into Nigeria had been complaining about the Forex policy introduced by the Apex bank, which according to the airlines was affecting their operations.
As a result of the development, the foreign airlines in the country met with officials of the House Committee on Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) last week to find a way of addressing the issue to prevent strangulation.
Virgin Atlantic operates seven frequencies into Nigeria weekly. Iberia was said to have pulled out following the refusal of the CBN to exempt foreign carriers from its Forex policy, which has prevented foreign airlines from repatriating monies made from tickets sales to their home country.