*Due to Aviation Agencies N42b, $7.8 million
*CAA, FAAN, NAMA warn of industry collapse
Indigenous carriers owe aviation agencies more than 42 billion naira and $7.8 million for non-payment of ticket sales charges, freight sales charges, navigation charges, landing charges and aircraft parking and other charges.
The debt, according to the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, has accumulated over the past few years.
Specifically, the NCAA boss said the agency owed 19 billion naira and $7.8 million to local carriers, warning that if the trend continues the sector risks collapsing.
Apart from the debts owed to the NCAA, the carriers also owe the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) N18 billion and N5 billion.
Nuhu, who made this known during yesterday’s stakeholder meeting with airlines and local ground handling companies in Abuja, warned that if debts owed are not repaid in the coming weeks, aviation agencies and by extension the aviation industry would risk collapsing. .
Nuhu gave the operators a one-month ultimatum to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the NCAA, which would outline plans for repaying their debts to the agency.
Nuhu expressed his disappointment with a letter from the Air Operators of Nigeria (AON), signed by Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, the Chairman of AON, dated August 8, 2022, and addressed to Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation accusing agencies, especially the NCAA to beef up operators through multiple charges.
Nuhu noted that airlines and the entire aviation industry were going through a very difficult time, especially right now, insisting that all fees collected by the NCAA were statutory and in accordance with the 2006 Air Transport Act. ‘civil Aviation.
According to him, the airlines were not responsible for paying the Ticket Sales Charge/Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC), but collected them only on behalf of the agencies from the passengers and wondered why the operators would accuse him of engage in multiple withdrawals.
Nuhu further debunked the claim that the NCAA imposes excess baggage fees on airlines.
He further compared and juxtaposed the levies imposed on operators in Nigeria and Ghana, and uncovered the huge differences.
The NCAA helmsman explained that for any of the charges to be repealed, it would have to go through the National Assembly and be approved by the president.
He also denounced the fact that of the 5% TSC/CSC agencies still pay 25% of their revenue into the Consolidated Revenue Account created by the federal government and advised operators to always check their facts before going public. .
He added: “The NCAA relies 100% on its internally generated revenue (IGR). The 5% TSC paid by passengers represents 85% of the NCAA’s revenue, while the remaining 15% comes from the airlines in payment for services provided and they are all cost recovery. We also do not impose excess baggage fees on airlines. I wonder where the operators saw this.
“The airlines have intentionally refused to pay the debts owed to us despite the fact that they have collected them from the passengers. The airlines are collecting money and refusing to transfer it to the competent authorities. AON wants us to provide services for free. What the airlines are trying to do is take away the NCAA. You have refused to give us our rightful money. The fees we charge the airlines are just cost recovery and we subsidize actually the airlines.
In addition, NAMA Acting Chief Executive Mathew Pwajok said the agency’s fees are minimal compared to other countries around the world.
He, however, revealed that the airlines owe them more than N5 billion for the services rendered to them over the years.
Furthermore, Captain Rabiu Yadudu of FAAN also disclosed that airlines owe the agency N18 billion and denied the claim that it charges airlines indiscriminately as claimed in his letter.
He said the FAAN did not impose any new charges on airlines, pointing out that its landing and parking fees for international operators had last been revised in 1998, while for local airlines they had last revised in 2002.
He said it was necessary for the fees to be reviewed by the agency, pointing out that during this period airlines had revised their airfares numerous times.
In response, Alhaji Kashim Bukar, the managing director of Skyjet Airline, questioned why the NCAA DG had brought the matter to public attention.
He said that rather than making it a public issue, the NCAA should have called the operators to a closed meeting to discuss the issue.
Additionally, Captain Edward Boyo, CEO of Overland Airways and a director of AON, apologized to the NCAA for the letter.
“I am a member administrator of AON. On behalf of AON, I hope to apologize for the letter. The letter was not intended to have this effect. Parts of the letter were inappropriate. We apologize and I want to beg your indulgence to drop the issue,” he said.
Also, AON Vice President Mr. Allen Onyema said he was seeing the letter for the first time and expressed his disappointment with some of the contents.
He regretted that there were factions in the AON, which had prevented them from speaking with one voice.
Onyema agreed that he was at the meeting with the Ministry of Finance and Aviation where the issue of the Jet A1 price spike was discussed, but insisted that no one was defaming the image of the NCAA or aviation agencies at the meeting.
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