FG agencies give airlines deadline to pay N42.7bn, $16.6m debts – The Eagle Online

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Some agencies of the Federal Ministry of Aviation have asked local airlines to pay their outstanding debts for services rendered to them.

The call came during a meeting of aviation agencies with scheduled airline operators and ground handlers.

At the meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, which was also attended by officials from the Ministry of Aviation, the agencies said local airlines owed such illegal debts so far.

Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria chief executive Captain Musa Nuhu who called on airlines to pay their debts said they currently owed N19bn and $7.6m in charges tickets collected from passengers but refused to turn them over to the NCAA.

Nuhu said sanctions would be taken against defaulting airlines if they refused to pay within a month.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the letter Nigerian air operators sent recently to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, quoting AON as demanding a review of multiple accusations from aviation agencies.

The Managing Director affirmed that all charges follow best practice as achieved across the country, pointing out that many neighboring countries charge even more than Nigeria.

He said: ‘We cannot provide services and you want the government to grant a waiver.

“How do agencies manage to survive?

“The NCAA relies on internally generated revenue without any money from the federal government.

“We have not increased our charges for 13 years.

“We still perceive the same charge.

“So nothing like a burden on airline operators.”

Matthew Pwajok, acting chief executive of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, who has also called on local airlines to pay their debts, said they must be considerate in their dealings.

According to him, local airlines have to pay the sum of 5.73 billion naira to NAMA from June.

He said, “NAMA is 100% self-funded from its internally generated revenue for salaries, operating costs, training and capital projects and 25% of revenue generated by the agency is deducted from source by the federal government.

“The agency also shares its revenue with NiMet.

“Revenues generated are also reinvested to fund the provision of facilities and training in communications, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management.”

According to him, Nigerian national airlines are liable to NAMA on terminal navigation charges and en-route navigation charges amounting to N5,735,123,336.89 as of June 30.

He said domestic airlines also owed NAMA for international operations to the tune of $9,086,401.78 as of June 30.

Pwajok said the agency could suspend the provision of its services to any airlines still owed if they refused to pay on time.

Captain Rabiu Yadudu, Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, who also called on local airlines to repay their debts to FAAN, said airlines currently owe FAAN 18 billion naira.

According to Yadudu, such debts will go a long way in improving standards at airports when paid and create comfort for the traveling public.

The FAAN boss, however, urged the AON to strengthen its collaboration with aviation agencies to collectively develop the industry.

He said, “Sit down to work together will quickly contribute to the growth of the aviation sector.

“No airline has ever come to FAAN and been turned down by FAAN.

“We reason together.

“Collaboration is the way of the aviation industry.

“There is absolutely no reason to undermine each other.

“We need each other.

“We have to respect and protect each other.”

In response, AON Vice President Allen Onyema called on all domestic airlines indebted to any of the aviation agencies to pay their debts.

Onyema, who is also the owner and managing director of Air Peace, further pleaded with the aviation agencies to believe in the airline operators as they are ready to work better with them.

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