The global airline association International Air Transport Association (IATA) accused Pakistan of restricting the airline industry from repatriating funds, news agency the Dawn reported.
The report said that Pakistan has blocked airlines’ dues worth $225 million, ranking second in the list of nations restricting the airlines industry from repatriating funds, the IATA said this week.
Pakistan was categorised as a ‘blocked fund’ nation along with Sri Lanka earlier in 2021. Both nations were monitored and flagged in the airline association’s watchlist in 2021.
The IATA this week said that the amount of airline funds that Pakistan and other governments have blocked has risen by more than 25%, reaching $394 million, in the last six months and has now reached $2 billion. The IATA represents more than 300 airlines who comprise at least 83% of the global air traffic.
“Preventing airlines from repatriating funds may appear to be an easy way to shore up depleted treasuries, but ultimately the local economy will pay a high price. No business can sustain providing service if they cannot get paid and this is no different for airlines,” the IATA said in a statement.
In its statement, the IATA said Nigeria ($551mn), Pakistan ($225mn), Bangladesh ($208mn), Lebanon ($144mn) and Algeria ($140mn) are the top five countries who have blocked airlines’ from repatriation of funds along with 27 other countries.
“Air links are a vital economic catalyst. Enabling the efficient repatriation of revenues is critical for any economy to remain globally connected to markets and supply chains,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said.
Venezuela was not included in the list and is considered separately as it has been sitting on airline funds worth $3.8bn since 2016.
The IATA urged the governments of the respective countries to remove barriers preventing the airlines from repatriating their revenues from ticket sales and other activities and honour the international agreements and treaty obligations.
The IATA said the tota blocked amount rising to at least $2bn is driven by two factors - increase in sales in ‘most markets’ and falling sales in Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine along with two other nations.
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