NCAA grounds Azman Air over expired operational licence, N1.2bn debt


Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has grounded operations of indigenous carrier, Azman Air operations over the aviation firm’s inability to renew its Air Transport Licence (ATL) within the stipulated time, in addition for not providing security and tax clearance certificates.

NXAA also suspended Azman Air for failure to remit the 5 per cent Ticket Sales Charge and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC) totaling N1.2 billion.

Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, who disclosed in a virtual interaction with aviation journalists, explained that Azman’s ATL expired in April 2021.

According to the NCAA boss, the agency communicated to the airline in January, this year, to renew its ATL.

“The airline responded to NCAA letter in March asking that it should be giving 90 days within which to renew it but that the NCAA wrote back telling them that it can only give 60 days.

“After the expiration of the 60 days, the airline asked for another 30 days and that because of the issues in the industry then, NCAA granted the airline 30 days which expired yesterday (Wednesday),” said Nuhu.

On the debt of N1.2 billion accruing from the 5 per cent TSC /CSC owed NCAA, the DG said that Azman had offered to pay N10 million monthly but NCAA refused after which the airline ncreased the amount to N20 million.

“But NCAA told the airline that the regulatory body can only accept N50 million monthly.

“The TSC/CSC money is shared by NCAA, and other aviation agencies which include: Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

“The TSC /CSC is the main source of revenue for NCAA as it derives 58 per from the total 5 per cent while the other four agencies share the remaining balance of 42 per cent.”

He further stated that apart from the inability to renew its ATL, remit the N1.2 billion fund owed NCAA, the embattled airline was not also able to present tax clearance and security clearance from the relevant authority.

“The airline owed us N1.2 billion as TSC/CSC. We invited them, set up a committee for that purpose. Azman said they would pay the sum of N10 million monthly out of the debt, which we refused. They later came up to N20 million, but we insist on N50 million monthly. If we had agreed the N10 million monthly, it means it will take them about 12 years to repay back the money it had already collected and by then, the money would have lost.”

According to Nuhu, ‘the era where airlines collect money on behalf of NCAA and refuse to remit is over, adding that the regulatory body can no longer tolerate.’

The NCAA boss, however, said that it was not the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) that it suspended but that it was the airline’s ATL but that with the suspension of the airline’s ATL, the AOC  automatically becomes useless.

The DG said that for Azman to resume operations, ‘it must submit its tax clearance, Security clearance and must sign an MoU with NCAA to be remitting N50 million monthly of N1.2 billion it is owing the regulatory body.’

“The issue of airlines withholding government funds is no longer acceptable,” Nuhu said.

He stated that the regulatory is not refusing to meet with Azman, adding that ‘NCAA is ready at any time to meet with the airline on how they will pay the PSC funds which the airline collected and did not remit.’

Nuhu further disclosed that NCAA is under pressure by the Federal Government to take action in order to recover money from the debtor airlines.

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