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NCAA moves to recover N24bn airlines’ debts

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is setting up a task force to recover debts owed by airlines, noting that it is already implementing a “no pay, no service” regime for the airlines.

Daily Trust reports that the airlines are indebted to NCAA to the tune of N24bn, being accruals from the statutory five per cent Ticket Sales Charge and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC) from 2022.

Despite the implementation of the “no pay, no service regime”, the debts have not reduced, even as they include those being owed by airlines that have ceased operations.

The acting Director General (DG) of NCAA, Capt Chris Najomo, who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos, also unveiled his agenda to transform the industry.

The agenda tagged: “NCAA Project 2024”, encompasses prompt and simplified licensing/certification, enhanced surveillance, consumer protection, staff welfare, digital transformation, intensified revenue drive, Universal Safety Audit and ISO 9001 certification.

Of particular concern is the revenue drive against the backdrop of the recent directive by the federal government for the agency, among others, classified as “super agencies” to remit 50 per cent of their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the government’s coffers.

This implies that the agency, which is 100 per cent self-funded, will have to embark on an aggressive revenue drive to meet its obligations, including the 50 per cent remittance to the federal government.

Najomo said, “We are intensifying our cost recovery drive. The federal government now takes 50 per cent of the money. Most of the airlines are owing us; we have told them to pay up.”

The DG also hinted that the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) of Azman Air might not be renewed unless its debt was paid.

It would be recalled that NCAA in September, 2022, suspended Azman Air’s license over a N1.2bn debt.

Speaking further, the acting DG said the agency was working on realistic corrective action plans ahead of the return of auditors from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meeting following the not-too-good outing of Nigeria in the last Universal Safety Oversight Audit Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP-CMA).

He stated that NCAA was collaborating with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other relevant stakeholders to have “an excellent show during the ICAO Universal Security Audit Programme slated for 11th to 22th March, 2024.”

On consumer protection, the DG advised passengers to take advantage of available protection as contained in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations: Part 19.