Pay Up Arrears In 30 Days Or…, NCAA Tells Local Airlines

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The director-general, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu.
The director-general, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Musa Nuhu.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has urged the local airlines to pay up their unpaid debt for services rendered to them, just as the NCAA accused the local airlines of a deliberate attempt to cripple its operations. 

The NCAA director-general, Capt. Musa Nuhu stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting with all the airlines and all the aviation agencies yesterday (August 30, 2022) in Abuja. 

Nuhu said the local airlines are owing over N19 billion and $7.6 million on ticket charges they have collected from passengers but have refused to remit to the authority. 

“This situation is crippling its finances and pitching the authority against the Federal Government as a government-owned revenue-generating agency, following the dire financial position of the FG. 

“Rather than the airlines thinking creatively to grow their businesses and the industry, they have targeted the NCAA with a campaign of calumny and falsehood. 

“The Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON), an umbrella body for all the airlines operating in Nigeria, had accused the NCAA of multiple charges.

“The AON had also, in a letter to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said the charges occasioned with the forex crises and Jet A1 (aviation fuel) is chocking the airlines to death.” 

Irked by the tone of the complaint, the NCAA DG said the accusations by the airlines are “unfair, unfounded and smacks of blackmail”. 

He said all airlines are indebted to the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA). 

Nuhu also explained that “the NCAA charges the airlines just cost recovery charges as the bulk of its revenues comes from the statutory charges on air tickets, bone by customers adding that the airiness deducts the funds, add to their revenues rather than remitting same to the aviation agencies. 

“Their accusations are farther from the truth, compared to the analysis of charges between Nigeria and Ghana, which shows that Ghana charges over 100 per cent higher for most of the charges. He thus said the NCAA will also review its charges higher, as the authority hasn’t done so in about 13 years, despite the rising cost of service provision.” 

He said the airlines must, in the next 30 days commit to a payment plan or be suspended. 

“The airlines must enter an MoU on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days from August 30th, 2022, or their license will be suspended at the expiration of the deadline,” he said. 

The NCAA boss posited that the aviation agencies are just as challenged as they also rely on forex to train and procure critical equipment the airiness needs to operate safely. 

“The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is also being owed over N5 billion and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is also being owed over N19 billion by the same Nigerian registered airlines,” he added.

Oluchi Okorafor
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