IATA calls on governments to unblock funds

GENEVA, 23 August 2021: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urges governments to unblock nearly USD1 billion in tickets cargo space sales, in line with international agreements and treaty obligations.

“Governments are preventing nearly USD1 billion in airline revenues from being repatriated. This contravenes international conventions and could slow the recovery of travel and tourism in affected markets as the airline industry struggles to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said IATA’s director-general Willie Walsh.

Willie Walsh.

“Airlines will not be able to provide reliable connectivity if they cannot rely on local revenues to support operations. That is why it is critical for all governments to prioritize ensuring that funds can be repatriated efficiently. Now is not the time to score an ‘own goal’ by putting vital air connectivity at risk.

Approximately USD963 million in airline funds are being blocked from repatriation in nearly 20 countries.

Four countries: Bangladesh (USD146.1 million), Lebanon (USD175.5 million), Nigeria (USD143.8 million), and Zimbabwe (USD142.7 million), already account for over 60% of the total, although IATA says “there has been positive progress in reducing blocked funds in Bangladesh and Zimbabwe of late.”

Walsh added: “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.”

(Source: IATA)