MIAMI – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued a corporate communication regarding airline funds held back by various countries that do not permit their repatriation.

IATA has explicitly denounced the fact that when countries block airlines’ funds and impede their transfer, their action negatively impacts airlines and may be one of the causes of a slow recovery of travel and tourism to and from the defaulting countries. The amount of money concerned is close to US$1bn and derives from ticket and cargo sales as well as other commercial activities.

The blocking of funds is in contravention of international conventions regulating the movement of funds earned by airlines in foreign countries and may result in airlines’ inability to provide air services when local revenues are not available to support operations. IATA calls on the concerned government to ensure in priority that funds earned locally be repatriated without hindrance.

Out of the total amount of approximately US$1bn, 60% is held back by the following four countries IATA has explicitly named. Bangladesh is holding back US$146.1m, Lebanon US$175.5m, Nigeria US$143.8m, Zimbabwe US$142.7m. IATA has however indicated some progress being shown by Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

It is with pointing out that this latest survey does not take into account the staggering amount of US$4bn being blocked by Venezuela.

Bangladesh Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Comment from IATA Director-General


Willie Walsh, IATA Director-General commented on the issue by saying, “We encourage governments to work with industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energize economies as they recover from COVID-19.”

“We encourage governments to work with industry to resolve the issues that are preventing airlines from repatriating funds. This will enable aviation to provide the connectivity needed to sustain jobs and energize economies as they recover from COVID-19,” said Walsh.

"Now is not the time to score an 'own goal' by putting vital air connectivity at risk." Willie Walsh, IATA Director-General Click To Tweet

Article source: IATA Corporate Press Release


Featured image: Middle East Airlines Airbus 321-200 T7-ME3. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways