Mounting debts worry airlines, discuss N22bn repayment plans with NCAA – Newstrends
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Mounting debts worry airlines, discuss N22bn repayment plans with NCAA

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Airlines owing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority a total of N22bn have held a meeting with the agency on reconciliation and plans for payment.

The Director-General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said this when the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation led by Nnolim Nnaji paid him a visit on Wednesday.

Apart from the devastating effects of COVID-19 on businesses, airlines say the recent rise in naira-to-dollar rate has exposed them to more financial needs.

Except workers’ salaries and ticket sales, everything other thing in the aviation business is denominated in dollars.

A chief operation officer of one of the local carriers said the major worry was the high cost of maintenance.

For instance, according to him, the C-check, which is required every 18 months, now costs an average of $2m per commercial aircraft.

On the meeting with airlines, Nuhu said, “Under your guidance, we have carried on that agreement that we had. We had a meeting with the operators on the issue of the debt collection and agreed to notify each airline on the level of debt that they have.

 “We will sit down with them and do the reconciliation. We will then implement a payment plan. We do not expect everyone to pay all their money at a go because of the difficulties in the industry and economic downturn.”

He said the agreement would be a win-win for all parties at the end of the day.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had in November given the total debt airlines owed the agency over a period of 10 years as N22bn.

Experts have said unless the Federal Government bail out the airlines and give them a special forex window, airfares might continue to rise and become unaffordable for the travelling public in the festive season.

It was observed last week that many of the local airlines had raised their fares by about 100 per cent due to high exchange rate that hit N500 to $1 at the black market.

This has seen an average one-hour economy class seat of N33, 000 rise to N75, 000 over the counter of some airlines. And average return trip variants also climbed to N121, 000 from about N60, 000 two weeks ago.

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Aviation

Aviation unions open airport terminals as flight operations resume

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Aviation unions open airport terminals as flight operations resume

Flight operations have resumed at major  airports in Nigeria after labour unions suspended their nationwide strike on Tuesday.

Aviation unions have opened barricaded airport terminals, following suspension of the indefinite strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

Francis Akinjole, General Secretary of Air Traffic Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), said the strike was ‘relaxed’ for a week to enable the unions to continue talk with the Federal Government on a new minimum wage.

Akinjole said all blocked access points at the Lagos domestic airport terminals I (General Aviation Terminal) and II (Murtala Muhammed Airport II) and others had been opened.

Alale Adedayo, President General of Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), said that the organised labour had accepted Federal Government’s offer for continued negotiations.

Adedayo said that flight operations had resumed on the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja.

It was also learnt that the situation was the same in other major airports such as Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that activities at the domestic wing are in full swing.

Passengers were seen boarding Value Jet, Ibom Air, Arik Air and United Nigeria Airline at Murtala Mohammed Airport II managed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd.

Muyioluwa Maraiyese, a Value Jet passenger going to Abuja, said he expected the labour unions to barricade roads during the strike to disallow road transport since they disrupted flight operations.

However, at the Lagos to Abuja check-in stand of the Air Peace, it was announced that flights had been rescheduled.

An aggrieved passenger of the airline, Monalisa Phillip, said the airline did not give any reason for the flight reschedule.

NAN reports that the NLC and TUC on Tuesday suspended the indefinite strike for a week to enable continued negotiations with the Federal Government on a new minimum wage.

The unions embarked on the strike on Monday following inconclusiveness of negotiations on a new minimum wage.

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FAAN begins sale of e-tags at airports

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FAAN begins sale of e-tags at airports 

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Friday commenced the sale of electronic tags (e-tags) at airports.
The initiative, it said in a statement, was in line with the presidential directive that mandating the use of e-tags for accessing the nation’s federal airports.
“Following the presidential directive that all citizens are mandated to pay for e-tags at all the 24 federal airports across the country, we wish to inform the general public that the e-tags are available for sale from Friday, 17th May, 2024 at the following locations,” FAAN said.
“Lagos: Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, Terminal 1, 5th Floor) Office of HOD Commercial. Contact: 08033713796 or 08023546030.
“Abuja: Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, HOD Commercial Office (General Aviation Terminal) Contact: 08034633527 or  08137561615.”
FAAN however said there would be an option to pay in cash at the access gates for motorists without e-tags.
On May 14, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, announced that everyone, including the President and Vice President, would pay tolls at the airports.
Keyamo said the government was losing over 82 per cent of the revenue it should have earned from the access fee.

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Updated: We’ll resume Lagos-Dubai flights on October 1, says Emirates

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Updated: We’ll resume Lagos-Dubai flights on October 1, says Emirates

Emirates Airlines on Thursday announced that its flight operations to Nigeria would resume on October 1, 2024.

It said this in a statement, “The service will be operated using a Boeing 777-300ER. EK783 will depart Dubai at 0945hrs, arriving in Lagos at 1520hrs. The return flight EK784 will leave Lagos at 1730hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0510hrs the next day.

“Tickets can be booked now on Emirates.com or via travel agents.”

It quoted Emirates’ Deputy President and Chief Commercial Officer, Adnan Kazim, as saying the Lagos-Dubai service has traditionally been popular in Nigeria.

“We thank the Nigerian government for their partnership and support in re-establishing this route and we look forward to welcoming passengers back onboard,” Kazim said.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday said the Emirates Airlines had given a definite date to resume flight operations to Nigeria and would make the announcement in a matter of days.

Emirates Airlines suspended flight operations to Nigeria in October 2022 over its inability to repatriate its $85 million revenue trapped in Nigeria.

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