The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate revenues from ticket sales and other activities. At the IATA AGM in Sydney, Australia, IATA revealed the amount of airline funds blocked from repatriation totalled USD4.9 billion at the end of 2017. On a positive note this was down 7% compared to year-end 2016, but airline funds remain blocked in some 16 countries.
“The connectivity provided by aviation is vital to economic growth and development. Aviation supports jobs and trade, and helps people to lead better lives. But airlines need to have confidence that they will be able to repatriate their revenues in order to bring these benefits to markets,” says Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA says it has “had some recent success”. The USD600 million backlog in Nigeria has been cleared and it has made USD120 million of progress from a peak of over USD500 million in Angola.
The top five markets with remaining blocked funds are:
- Venezuela, where airlines have been unable to repatriate USD3.78 billion;
- Angola, where approximately USD386 million remains blocked;
- Sudan where USD170 million is blocked;
- Bangladesh, where USD95 million is blocked;
- Zimbabwe, where USD76 million is blocked.
Given the deepening economic crisis in Venezuela, a resolution appears to be unlikely in the short term so the majority of the almost USD5 billion total will continue to remain outstanding. However, Mr de Juniac says IATA is “encouraged by the recent developments in Nigeria and Angola, and hope other states will also move quickly to address blocked funds”.