11 Airlines May Be Grounded Over N755 Debt

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11 Airlines May Be Grounded Over N755 Debt

Postby Richard Akindele » Tue May 23, 2006 2:32 am

No fewer than 11 domestic airlines risk being grounded over their inability to pay to the aviation parastatals, the mandatory five per cent Ticket Service Charge (TSC) totaling N755,502,059.84, as at April 30.

THISDAY investigations revealed that although 21 airlines are on the debtors' list, 11 have been singled out for grounding because "they have not made appreciable efforts to settle their debt". The 11 airlines are owing a total of N647,475,362.99.

Further investigation indicated that civil aviation umpire, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has already written the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to ground the 11 airlines.

A THISDAY source disclosed that the Director General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren had in a letter dated May 16, 2006 and addressed to the NAMA Managing Director, Mr. Roland Iyayi, directed him to ground the debtor airlines effective last Thursday, May, 18, 2006.

However, the airlines' only respite is the fact that the NAMA chief executive is currently out of the country. Iyayi is being expected back in the country this week.

Of the 11 airlines penciled down for grounding, one of them which currently flies into an Asian country and operates into a large part of the West African sub-region owes N188,398,687.80 followed by the oldest privately-owned airline in the country (N101,710,854.15) which also owns a maintenance hangar for major checks.

Apart from directing NAMA to ground the 11 airlines, THISDAY gathered that the Accounts Department of NCAA has been directed to clear with the Directorate of Finance of the authority on the state of indebtedness of the airlines before extending further services to them.

Our source hinted that both foreign and domestic airlines had earlier been written to settle their debt to NCAA on or before May 4, 2006, failure which appropriate sanctions should be taken against them.

It is recalled that NAMA has over the years resorted to the grounding of debtor airlines to force them settle their debts.

The way NAMA goes about grounding the airlines is to deny them traffic right to take off or land.

Source: This Day.
Richard Akindele
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