Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) condemned the planned sanctioning of its members by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over the AON’s opposition to move to an automated platform for the remittance of the 5 percent ticket and cargo sales charge (TSC).

The umbrella body of airlines in Nigeria also accused the regulatory agency of non-transparency in the collection of the 5 percent TSC, saying that it went through “an unknown” third party for the collection, rather than a body like the International Air Transport Association of Nigeria (IATA).

Our correspondent gathered that the NCAA collects 58 percent of the 5 percent TSC. The remaining 42 percent of the TSC revenue is shared among the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) with 23 percent, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) with 9 percent, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) with 7 percent, and the Accident Investigation Bureau with 3 percent.

Speaking on behalf of domestic airlines on Monday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, AON President Nogie Meggison alleged that the government and the NCAA were siphoning the indigenous carriers through tax collection.

Mr. Meggison noted that stakeholders mooted the idea of a 5 percent TSC for the agency when the NCAA gained autonomy in 2006, as the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) was not collecting en-route, route charges and other multiple navigational charges from the airlines.

He noted that the 5 percent TSC was outdated and should be reviewed after almost 11 years in operation.

AON also accused the NCAA of attempting to collect the revenue through an unknown third party organization and urged its leadership to show greater transparency in revenue collection.

He also disclosed that 70 percent of the total debt on the 5 percent TSC are owed by airlines under the management of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), stressing that other airlines had been paying the charge regularly.

Mr. Meggison further accused the NCAA of discrimination, as it collected the 5 percent from its total airfares as opposed to the base fare it charges foreign carriers. He said that such discrimination has damaged the Nigerian aviation sector.

“NCAA should be ashamed of killing 143 airlines since it was established in 2000. It is something like this that led to the death of several carriers in the country and NCAA is happy about it. Why will an agency like NCAA discriminate against its local carriers?” he said.

“Ghana very soon will be a hub for the aviation industry in West Africa as they created an enabling environment for everyone to fly in and go out. For instance, Ghana charges N160 per liter of aviation fuel while it is between N250 and N260 in Nigeria. We want transparency from NCAA.”

It would be recalled that the NCAA announced on Friday that it would commence sanctions against indigenous airlines that refused to migrate to the automation platform for the 5 percent TSC. NCAA stated that failure to comply with the directive would be dealt with seriously, stressing that the regulatory authority would be forced to invoke the necessary provisions of the law against defaulting airlines.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport

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