Venezuela has blocked the repatriation of $3.78 billion worth of airline funds, which it has held for the last 16 months, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA is calling on governments to respect international agreements obliging them to ensure airlines are able to repatriate their revenues.
IATA monitors blocked funds globally, the sum of which exceeds $5 billion and says others countries blocking significant funds are in Africa as Nigeria with $591 million for seven months, Sudan $360 million for four months, Egypt $291 million for four months and Angola $237 million for seven months.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Tony Tyler says: “Air connectivity is vital to all economies. The airline industry is a competitive business operating on thin margins. So the efficient repatriation of revenues is critical for airlines to be able to play their role as a catalyst for economic activity.
“It is not reasonable to expect airlines to invest and operate in nations where they cannot efficiently collect payment for their services.”
Tyler adds: “Blocked funds are a problem in a diverse group of countries, some of them undergoing significant economic challenges particularly with a fall-off in oil revenues. But one thing all five nations have in common is the urgent need for robust air connectivity that is being hampered by airlines’ difficulty in repatriating funds.
“Strong connectivity is an economic enabler and generates considerable economic and social benefits – something that struggling economies need more than ever. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure that airlines are paid on-time, at fair exchange rates and in full.”