• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Public hearing: Minister says airline operators owe $6.9m, N19.4bn on ticket sales charge

Sirika commends NIMET for improved weather forecast aiding flight operations

The minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday revealed that the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) owe a staggering US$6,993,284 and N19,365,374,336 as non-remittance of Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) and (CSC) collected on behalf of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

This was disclosed at the on-going aviation public hearing in Abuja. AON through its lawyer, Chinasa Unaegbunam from Stream Sowers & Kohn, charged the Senate to repeal Clause 23 of the Civil Aviation Act asking for the reduction of the 5 percent TSC/CSC.

She said operators needed a lifeline and also asked that the governing board of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) must also consist a member of the AON, stating that this would give the airlines a voice.
The minister, who initiated a point of order, said that the monies being owed were not charges as erroneously stated by the learned lady but a charge collected on the NCAA’s behalf by the airlines to be remitted which was not done.

According to him, the AON currently owes US$6,993,284 and N19,365,374,336 on the 5 percent currently shared by the regulator, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and the Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB).

Currently, there is a plan to change the dynamics of the sharing formula but as it stands, the NCAA gets 56 percent, NAMA 22 percent, NiMET 9 percent , NCAT 7 percent, and AIB 6 percent.

John Ojikutu, aviation expert, who also spoke during the hearing accused the airlines of humongous debts stating that they are also part of the problem.

Ojikutu also queried the sharing formulae of the 5 percent TSC/CSC and asked for a review.

Smart Adeyemi, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, who spoke earlier said the amendment of the operating act of the NCAA was crucial and timely and that its essence is to encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas with a view to improving the sector and removing all forms of ambiguity.

Speaking also, Bala Ibn Na’allah, a senator, said the TSC was not money charged to airlines but money that passengers pay for safety, infrastructure and the likes.

He said that it is wrong for the airlines to make it look like the monies were charges and stated that those funds must be recovered.