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NCAA Threatens To Ground Local Airlines Over Debt Obligations

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has threatened to ground local airlines over outstanding debts that stand at N19 billion and $7.6 million. The increasing debts are from unremitted ticket charges paid by passengers over the years.

The aviation sector regulator has mandated the local carriers, on the platform of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days, from August 30, 2022, failing which will result in the immediate withdrawal of their operating licenses.

This declaration was made by the NCAA Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, on Tuesday in Abuja, at a stakeholder meeting with the airlines and aviation agencies, as he explained that the debt situation was choking its operations and pitching the authorities against the Federal Government.

He said: “All airlines indebted to the NCAA must enter an MoU on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days from August 30th, 2022 or their licences will be suspended at the expiration of the deadline.

“Since 2009, the NCAA had not reviewed its services, yet local airlines refused to pay, adding that NCAA charges were far lower than what is obtained in neighbouring countries like Ghana.

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

According to him, contrary to the sanctimonious posturing of the domestic airlines who often play the victim of a harsh operating environment, they were the ones deliberately attempting to cripple the regulator’s operations by collecting ticket charges from passengers and refusing to remit to relevant authorities.

Nuhu, while urging the airlines to creatively marshal out a survival strategy and grow their businesses, advised them to desist from carrying out campaigns of calumny and falsehoods aimed at vandalising the integrity of the NCAA.

In response to the threat, the Chief Executive Officer, Skye Jet, Kashim Bukar Shettima said the NCAA was also not a perfect entity, urging all parties to let the dove of peace fly by resolving all issues amicably.

He said the NCAA boss could have engaged the AON privately to resolve the issues because “if the AON also begins to speak, it will amount to “washing their dirty linen in the public.”

He added: “Yes, airlines owe money but the airlines are also deeply challenged because they can’t get fuel or access dollars freely. They buy dollars in the black market. We must come together to resolve our problems.”

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has threatened to ground local airlines over outstanding debts that stand at N19 billion and $7.6 million. The increasing debts are from unremitted ticket charges paid by passengers over the years.

The aviation sector regulator has mandated the local carriers, on the platform of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days, from August 30, 2022, failing which will result in the immediate withdrawal of their operating licenses.

This declaration was made by the NCAA Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, on Tuesday in Abuja, at a stakeholder meeting with the airlines and aviation agencies, as he explained that the debt situation was choking its operations and pitching the authorities against the Federal Government.

He said: “All airlines indebted to the NCAA must enter an MoU on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days from August 30th, 2022 or their licences will be suspended at the expiration of the deadline.

“Since 2009, the NCAA had not reviewed its services, yet local airlines refused to pay, adding that NCAA charges were far lower than what is obtained in neighbouring countries like Ghana.

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

According to him, contrary to the sanctimonious posturing of the domestic airlines who often play the victim of a harsh operating environment, they were the ones deliberately attempting to cripple the regulator’s operations by collecting ticket charges from passengers and refusing to remit to relevant authorities.

Nuhu, while urging the airlines to creatively marshal out a survival strategy and grow their businesses, advised them to desist from carrying out campaigns of calumny and falsehoods aimed at vandalising the integrity of the NCAA.

In response to the threat, the Chief Executive Officer, Skye Jet, Kashim Bukar Shettima said the NCAA was also not a perfect entity, urging all parties to let the dove of peace fly by resolving all issues amicably.

He said the NCAA boss could have engaged the AON privately to resolve the issues because “if the AON also begins to speak, it will amount to “washing their dirty linen in the public.”

He added: “Yes, airlines owe money but the airlines are also deeply challenged because they can’t get fuel or access dollars freely. They buy dollars in the black market. We must come together to resolve our problems.”

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