Aviation agencies and others lose millions as Kaduna airport remains closed

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Aviation agencies have continued to lament their losses following the cessation of operations at Kaduna airport for the past three months when it came under attack.

Following the airport attack in March, in which a Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) official was killed, airlines suspended operations there.

Three airlines served the airport: Azman Air, Air Peace and Arik Air.

Azman Air did not return to the airport until May 23 and remained the only airline to operate a four-week flight in one week.

Daily Trust has learned that Air Peace contacted the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to resume this week, but did not do so due to what one source called “operational reasons”.

Before the security breach, the airport was registering up to 250 passengers per day. But at the moment, it barely registers 500 passengers in a week, according to a source.

Daily Trust figured out that FAAN charges each passenger N2000 as Passenger Service Charge (PSC), meaning the authority would lose around N500,000 per day from PSC alone. This translates to about 100 million naira per month.

This is in addition to the landing fees the authority collects on each aircraft that lands at the airport.

Similarly, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which collects 5% ticket sales fees from every passenger, also loses millions of naira every week due to inactivity at the airport.

Likewise, NAMA is also no slouch in the loss which has been described as huge.

Several private jets that should have landed at the civilian airport have made Nigeria’s Mando Air Base, Igabi LGA of the state, their preferred landing area.

But the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) may have benefited from the flying activities of private jet operators.

In May, the main presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), who arrived in Kaduna State to seek the support of delegates, landed at the base of the air force instead of the civilian airport. For example, a Daily Trust survey found that for round trips, civilian airports typically charge around $3,000 an hour in landing and parking fees. However, charges usually begin about three hours after landing.

“During this period, FAAN lost all of the revenue from these private jets because they weren’t landing at the civilian airport and we don’t have access to the military airport,” an FAAN official told Reuters. DailyTrust.

Nigerian Air Force sources in Kaduna also explained that although several private jets landed at the military airport, the jets received clearance from the NAF headquarters in Abuja. They claimed that the Air Force base only received the signal to wait for certain planes. “Most of the time, we don’t even know who the personalities are. We only get a signal from headquarters that a plane is going to land,” the source said.

Attempts to reach NAF Command Public Relations Officer Group Captain Ibrahim Bukar proved abortive as he did not return calls to his lines.

Speaking to our correspondent, Kaduna Airport Manager Ms. Amina Salami said that although she could not provide the estimated losses to the authority, she was definitely losing a huge amount of money.

She said: ‘When all the airlines were running we had PSC, landing and parking. But these are no longer there. I will simply say that it is a huge loss for the FAAN. I cannot say the exact amount.

“Of course, without business, you will not generate income. It’s a loss for the FAAN as you said. Except we have more activities than we don’t have now, we can’t generate anything.

Companies also deplore the lack of sponsorship

A porter at Kaduna International Airport, Charles A. Charles, estimated that porters could have lost up to 500,000 naira since the March 26 incident, saying many senior government officials were still reluctant to cross the airport. airport.

Charles, who has worked at the airport for 15 years, said he was used to receiving lots of advice from prominent Nigerians and senior government officials who expressed satisfaction with his services.

“If we have security guards patrolling the airport and on the road leading to the airport, we will be happy because our work is directly linked to the drivers who bring passengers to the airport. If there are no passengers, we will have no work to do,” he said.

A food vendor at the airport, Rashida Moshood, said her food business had suffered from the airport’s temporary lockdown, but had seen few sales since the Azman airline resumed service.

Rashida explained that she used to make a profit from selling six measures of rice a day, but now can barely sell a few cups due to low attendance.

She said that before Azman Air returned its services to the airport, she returned home as there were no passengers at the airport.

“We hope that the traffic will return to the airport soon. Insecurity is the problem and we hope that when the government tightens the security of the airport and the airlift for the pilgrimage starts, we will see a lot of customers”, she said.

Only FAAN can collect revenue – Experts

A former NAMA official at Kaduna International Airport, Mr. Gaven Sindep, said the only legal agency authorized to collect landing and parking fees from the NCAA is the FAAN. He however said that since the incident at the airport, FAAN would automatically lose money while billions of naira worth of equipment would sit idle.

“It becomes illegal for anyone including the Nigerian Air Force to collect revenue because as far as I know the only agency certified by Civil Aviation to collect landing and parking is FAAN. Except of course if there is an agreement between the Nigerian Air Force and the airport authorities and that is not as far as I know,” he said.

He said the aviation industry is highly regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) “although in terms of revenue there is some flexibility, but the question is whether Air Force personnel are trained in how to calculate load and weigh?

Experts call for increased security

Sindep also called for an increased security response at Kaduna International Airport to ensure the safety of staff and passengers.

According to him, unless the security situation is verified, the non-use of the airport will not only affect revenue collection but, in the long term, jobs.

Daily Trust reports that in 2017 the Federal Government closed Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja for six weeks and transferred flight operations to Kaduna International Airport in order to repair the runway at NAIA.

“Meanwhile, the government has upgraded Kaduna International Airport. The Kaduna state government has also upgraded the VIP lounge at the airport, so it cannot afford to let insecurity hamper activities at the airport; they can’t let the equipment rot,” Sindep said.

While emphasizing the need for airport security, another aviation expert Captain Ado Sanusi said that only in Nigeria are buildings and small settlements allowed within the parameters of the airport. airport. He said airport areas around the world are strictly off-limits and therefore agricultural land should not be located around airports.

“It must be completely discouraged and especially now that we have security concerns. We need to make it very clear to the communities that if you approach the airport you could be killed; this is not a place where children or people should walk around or watch the airfield. If someone wants to watch planes, there should be a viewing port they can access,” he said.

However, while assuring the government’s efforts to keep the airport safe, Kaduna State Homeland Security and Home Affairs Commissioner Samuel Aruwan said the state government was in talks with security agencies to tighten security around the airport ahead of this year’s airport airlift. Hajj exercise.

Aruwan assured at an event organized by the Muslim Student Society of Nigeria (MSSN) that future pilgrims will be flown in from Kaduna International Airport.

By Lami Sadiq, Kaduna & Abdullateef Aliyu, Lagos

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