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NCAA insists on automated debit system, airlines debt hits N15b

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Chairman of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said there is no going back on the automated debt remittance system for the mandatory five per cent ticket and cargo sales charges.

The apex aviation regulatory body, contrary to claims by the airlines, said the debt burden is already in excess of N15billion, hence the need to computerise the remittance system from the airlines.

Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, yesterday said there is no ambiguity with regard to the components of the billing of the charges, Part 18.12.4. of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015) clearly provides that “the five per cent air ticket sales charge shall be based on the total cost of travel paid by passengers to the airline.”

“This shall be the cost of ticket inclusive of fuel surcharge or any other charge added to the total cost of travel by the airline exclusive of government value added tax or any other tax that may be imposed by government from time to time.

“Therefore for the avoidance of doubt, all airline operators should be guided by Part 18.12.5.which says ‘all domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria shall forward to the authority through an electronic platform provided by the Authority, all relevant documents such as flown coupons, passenger or cargo manifests, air waybills, load sheets, clients’ service invoices and other documents necessary for accurate billing within 48 hours after each flight.”

Explaining airlines’ resistance to the new system, President of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Capt. Nogie Meggison, said the regime was discriminatory and a burden on the survival of the local airlines.

Meggison said: “Despite our members’ improved payment, infrastructure and service level continue to deteriorate across all facets of the industry under the same authority.

“AON also has issues with the immediate mandatory automation without first addressing the cost of integration while sadly at the same time not asking the foreign carriers operating in Nigeria to join the same automation platform and are charged on their base fares.

“This is wrong and discriminatory and also against the ICAO non-discriminatory policy. It is apparent that NCAA is preying on domestic airlines, which they see as an easy target, a cash cow and for cheap publicity, over regulating domestic operators, and pushing domestic airlines to the edge of insolvency and bankruptcy. It is this kind of policy that has reduced the lifespan of Nigerian airlines and have consumed over 25 airlines in the last 30 years since deregulation in 1982,” he said.



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