Emirates has stopped all flights to Nigeria following the curtailing of the fund release. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Nigeria released some funds owed to international air carriers to try and avert a crisis in the aviation sector amid warnings of flight suspensions from operators including Dubai’s Emirates Airline.

The Central Bank of Nigeria released $265 million to settle ticket sales owed to airline operators, it said late on Friday. Nigeria - Africa’s biggest economy - owes carriers $464 million, the International Air Transport Association said this month.

IATA has previously warned that Nigeria’s failure to repatriate airline revenues will hurt connectivity. Earlier this month, Dubai’s Emirates said it would suspend flights to Nigeria from September, while Lagos-based Punch Newspapers reported on Saturday that British Airways has stopped travel agents in Nigeria from selling its tickets.

IATA had earlier predicted the African region could lose up to $700 million in revenues by 2022, with lower vaccination rates on the continent dampening a recovery in air travel.