Aviation authorities shut Gombe, Kebbi airports over N811 million debt
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has withdrawn services from the duo of Gombe and Kebbi airports over alleged N811 million debt.
FAAN, in line with its earlier threat and expiration of another seven days ultimatum, withdrew aviation security and fire-fighters from the two airports.
The services in question, according to experts, are safety critical without which no airport can process flights.
FAAN had last month threatened to withdraw the safety critical services from some airports over debt in excess of N2.6 billion beginning from May 1. The warning came after an earlier notice was issued last December, to private and state-owned aerodromes, though was later suspended due to public outcry.
Among the facilities earlier targeted by FAAN were the Murtala Muhammed Airport II (MMA2) terminal in Lagos; Gombe Airport, Gombe; Osubi Airport in Warri, Delta State; and Kebbi Airport, Kebbi State, all estimated to allegedly owe the sum of N2.608 billion.
The Guardian learnt that Gombe Airport is indebted to the tune of N607.3 million, while Kebbi owes N124.6 million as at September 10, 2018.
FAAN in a Notice To all Air Men (NOTAM), informed all airlines and pilots of its withdrawal of services, which implies a shutdown of the two facilities.
It was gathered that the owners of the two aerodromes, Gombe and Kebbi State governments, unlike other concerned airports, allegedly refused to pay or negotiate with FAAN on the matter.
FAAN had earlier warned that “the Authority shall be constrained to commence the implementation of sanctions at the expiration of this notice, if the organisations fail or refuse to pay up as advised. In view of this, the Authority hereby notifies private airport operators that the services of our Aviation Security and Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting personnel will no longer be available for the operations of their airports with effect from Wednesday May 1, 2019 as the Authority can no longer keep these personnel at the airports working without payment.”