The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has suspended the Air Transport Licence (ATL) of Azman Air for failure to remit N1.2 billion Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) from passengers.
The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, made this known in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday.
Nuhu explained that the airline was suspended for failure to also submit security clearance for the renewal of its ATL, which expired in April 2021. Nuhu said the N1.2 billion debt was the revenue accrued from the five per cent Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) and Cargo sales Charge (CSC) collected from the air travelers by the airline.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the is shared among five aviation agencies; NCAA and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Others are the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.
NCAA gets 58 per cent from the total 5 per cent of and it is the major revenue earning for the agency, while the other four agencies share the remaining 42 per cent.
Nuhu decried that the regulatory agency had made efforts to recover the debt from the airline over the years, but ”the carrier was recalcitrant in paying back the sum despite collecting it from the passengers.
” Azman commenced scheduled operations in 2014. However, the withdrawal of the airline’s ATL rendered its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) invalid.
Nuhu told aviation journalists that its management had held series of meetings with Azman Air leadership on how to pay back the debt, but both parties failed to reach an agreement.
He said that the airline’s management had promised to pay back the sum of N10 million monthly as part of the N1.2 billion debt, but said the regulatory body insisted on N50million monthly.
Besides, the D-G said that the airline could not provide its security clearance, which was one of the prerequisites for renewal of ATL.
He said: “We didn’t suspend Azman Air’s Airline Operator certificate, but suspended their ATL, which had earlier expired.
”The ATL earlier expired in April 2021, but we gave the airline extension because of the disruption to aviation activities by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was what we did for other airlines, too.
However, we wrote a reminder letter to the airline six months to the new expiring date, which is statutory.
“Later, the airline requested for another extension of 90 days, but we only granted it 60 days.
”At the expiration of the 60 days, we also gave it 30 days reminder, which elapsed on Wednesday night, yet nothing was done by the airline.
” Nuhu said tha the airline owed us N1.2 billion as , adding, ”we invited them and 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 insisted on N50 million monthly.
”If we had agreed to 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.
” Nuhu further threatened that the ATL or AOC of any other airline that owed the agency’s five per cent would not be renewed.
He appealed to other carriers to pay up the backlog of debts.
Stakeholders in the automobile industry have appealed for the speedy passage of the Automobile Policy to engender growth in the industry.
At the Maiden Auto CEOs Forum held in Abuja on Thursday, they also decried lack of an Auto Purchase Credit Scheme for Nigerians purchase vehicles on a staggered payment scheme.
They argued that if such scheme was made available, people would be able to buy new vehicles and the business of local assemblers in the country would thrive.
Mr Remi Olaife, Executive Director, Nigeria Automobile Manufacturers Association (NAMA) said that lack of political will was the main constraint of the industry.
”We are not ready as a country to move.
How long are we going to wait.
”The Auto policy was approved during President Goodluck Jonathan administration and till date they are still trying to make it a law.
”All what is said today has already been said.
If we do not have the political will, nothing gets done.
The funds are there, it is for us to decide what we want to do.
Representing the Director-General of BPP, the Director of Procurement, Mr Eze Obasi, urged the automobile companies to upgrade their status to enable them benefit from the bureau’s policy.
”Federal Government have a policy aimed at enabling indeginious firms to grow.
”We recommend agencies to patronise upgraded companies who have met all the requirements of tax clearance, CAC registration, PENCOM certifications, ITF and NSITF.
”However, there is need for a deliberate collaboration among you.
You also need to collaborate with smaller firms that can provide the necessary components you need to thrive.
”If you are not registered with the bureau, you cannot do business with the government,”Obasi said.
Earlier, the former Acting Director-General, National Automotive Design and Development Council(NADDC), Lukman Mamood, urged the NAMA to come together in one voice.
He said they should form a formidable force that would engage the government and relevant stakeholders on the way forward for the industry.
He said the objective of the policy was to establish a dynamic fiscal policy to attract and sustain investments.
”It is aimed to one million automobiles for transport, mining and agriculture, attract FDI and renew Nigerian vehicle stock and reverse pressure on balance of payment and strengthen the naira.
”It is also aimed at establishing automotive manufacturing infrastructure and increase industry employment among other things,” Mamood said.
He said the requirements for the industry’s development, however, entailed incentives and supportive measures, legislation, market and skills development among other things.
The Controller of Customs, Musa Baba, said that the industry had to be private driven for effective and efficient growth.
On purchase of vehicles, he said: ”We have to look into financing of the industry, that is the purchase of vehicles.
”Also, let us identify people who have true passion to push through the objectives of the forum.
”Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Nord Automobiles Ltd., Oluwatobi Atayi, decried the non financing of automobile business in Nigeria due to high interest rate.
He urged that the National Automotive Council (NAC) levy on importation of vehicles to the country should be channeled as supposed to the automobile industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the forum was attended by stakeholders and players in the industry.
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) says it is working to install Category II Instrument Landing systems (CAT II ILS) in Owerri and Jalingo airports that have no ILS presently.
The agency’s Acting Managing Director, Mr Lawrence Pwajok, said this in a statement issued in Lagos on Monday.
Pwajok said that all airports in the country had a minimum of CAT II ILS, adding that there were no obsolete navigational facilities at the airports.
The NAMA boss said it had invested heavily on navigational facilities more than any other facilities at both federal and state-owned airports to ensure that aircraft operate at any time.
“Apart from one or two private aerodromes, all the federal and state government owned airports managed by NAMA are equipped with Instrument Landing System (ILS)”, he said.
Pwajok frowned at the idea of tagging some airports as “sunrise” or “sunset airports”, given that almost all airports in Nigeria had instrument landing facilities for approach and landing.
He explained that they were operating based on Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and not based on Visual Flight Rules (VFR) where the pilots were required to visually approach and land within Sunrise to Sunset time.
Explaining further, the NAMA boss said the agency had commenced the implementation of Category III ILS in Abuja and Lagos airports to tackle visibility issues during adverse weather.
According to him, Katsina, Kano and Port Harcourt airports have been installed with the facility and will be ready for use before the end of 2022. In the area of search and rescue services, he assured airlines that the agency would always be available to provide the service.
On how the agency was managing the single runway being operated in Lagos as a result of ongoing repairs at the 18 Left, Pwajok said it developed contingency procedures for a single runway operation.
“This is against the two runways, and the installation of lighting at the runway will complement the CAT II ILS installed there to bring about 24-hour operation and also serve as backup for the international runway (18 Right).
“It is very important that we address this issue of domestic runway 18 Left which has been in the dark for 20 years.
“It is a difficult thing for the airlines, pilots and air traffic controllers, but we are coping with it.
“This is because we know that it is the only way we can increase operating capacity of the airport when we have two functional runways,” he said.
The Ministry of Aviation on Tuesday in Abuja said its priority was to ensure the safety and security of air passengers and cargoes.
Mr James Odaudu, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria .
Odaudu said that the ministry and the agencies under its purview were working assiduously daily towards achieving the feat to boost confidence and integrity of the aviation sector in the country.
According to him, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has made safety and security of the flying public paramount since he assumed office.
“Right from the inception of the administration, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has placed emphasis on safety and security of passengers and cargoes.
“This is why any noticeable safety concern is thoroughly investigated and handled appropriately, “ he said.
On Dana Air suspension, Odaudu said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had to suspend Dana Air licence as a result of noticeable safety and financial concerns.
According to him, the suspension is to enable NCAA carry out the necessary regulatory of ongoing audit.
“If at the end of the process, the Airline is found to be healthy, its services will resume.
“ NCAA has said in a statement recently that DANA Air suspension is made pursuant to Section 35(2), 3(b) and (4) of Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 184.108.40.206(a) (1) of Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.“ On Aero Contractors suspension, he said that the airline`s scheduled passenger flights were self-imposed as a result of inability to meet operational costs occasioned by the high cost of aviation fuel.
The minister’s aide added that Aero was however still operating charter and helicopter services and carrying out its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services.
In a related development, Mr Mathew Pwajok, the Acting Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Managing Agency (NAMA), however, told NAN that suspension of Dana Airline and Aero Contractors would have negative impact on national economy.
According to him, the downcast of the two airlines being currently handled by NCAA, a regulator for both economic oversight and airworthiness on the airlines, was a big concern to all relevant stakeholders in the industry.
“Anything that will affect the volume of flights is a negative to NAMA capability and revenue as NAMA does not manage empty airspace.
“In the absence of airlines, there is no Airspace Management Agency.
We will not have anything to manage.
So, it is of concern to us to ensure that the airlines are operating.
“ That is why we go about deploying latest facilities to upgrade our facilities to provide the service that is safe, secure, economical and efficient and cost effective to the airlines.
“That is to ensure that the airlines are doing well and stay in business and also keep us in business.
We don’t have business if there are no airline to manage, “ NAMA boss said.
Pwajok said the agency had recently intensified efforts to acquire sophisticated tools that were effective and efficient to reduce flight challenges in the Nigerian air space.
“On our own part, we have done a whole lot in terms of reducing flight time, fuel consumption for operator, and flight delays by automating most of our processes.
“ And by implementing satellite base navigation to reduce flight time for the airlines, by implementing total radar coverage network to ensure that aircraft are safe and secure.
“This will reduce operating cost for the airlines and also ensure that they are comfortable and they can continue in the business, “ he said.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N90.8 billion for the rehabilitation of Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi road in Taraba and procurement equipment for some airports in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that N66.9 billion of the amount was approved for the construction Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi road in Taraba, while the remaining N23.9 billion was approved the procurement of equipment for the airports.
The Ministers of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made these known when they briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the council’s meeting.
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Fashola said: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented one memorandum and it was for the rehabilitation of the 91.94 kilometre Kashimbila-Takum-Chanchangi road in Taraba State and council approved the proposal by the ministry in the sum of N66. 983billion.”
According to him, the project will help boost the transportation network in Taraba and the entire North-East zone.
On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed that the council approved N23.9 billion for the procurement of equipment for some airports across the country.
He said the equipment to be procured include radio communication system for some control towers and instrument landing systems for some airports.
Mohammed said: “The Minister of Aviation presented two memos, one was for the award of contract for the upgrade of 12 airports tower voice communication and control system radio for 12 airports located in Akure, Benin, Calabar, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Minna, Owerri, Sokoto, Yola, Kaduna and Enugu.
“The contract was for the sum of N9.988 billion with a completion period of 13 months.
“As you are aware, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency NAMA has a statutory mandate to enhance safety and security of the Nigerian airspace and it is in line with this that it sought to upgrade 12 air control towers voice and communication control system.”
The minister said the communication tower had to be upgraded to enhance better performance in the 12 airports in conferment with technological advancements and aviation industry’s best practices..
He said that N14 billion for the procurement of instrument landing systems for Lagos Abuja, Katsina and Port Harcourt airports.
“The Ministry of Aviation also sought and obtained approval for the award of contract for the procurement and installation of air field lighting category three instrument landing systems in Lagos, Abuja, Katsina and Port Harcourt airports.
“This has to do with safety. The memo was approved and contract was awarded in the sum of N14, 036, 000, 000.
“This is in a bid to carryout statutory mandate of developing and managing all relevant aviation services for safe secure and efficient carriage of passengers and goods,” he said.
He said that the move was necessitated by the recent increase in the fleet of passengers across the four airports. (
The Commissioner for Information in Delta, Mr Charles Aniagwu, says the concessioning of the Asaba Airport by the state government is already yielding result.
Aniagwu said this during the verification of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport by a Spanish company engaged by the new management, Asaba Airport Company.
He said that the visible upgrade and transformation at the airport had vindicated the government.
According to him, when the government came up with the idea to concession the airport, people thought it was not good enough.
The commissioner lauded the company for its commitment toward ensuring that the facility sustained the Category Six Grade.
He also expressed delight over the company’s efforts to commence international flight soon, improve service delivery and create job opportunities for the people.
“I am happy that since 2021 when you took over the airport, a whole lot has happened.
“Starting from the number of traffic, which you have increased, to bringing the airport to the point of profitability.
“These informed government’s decision to concession the airport and to the calibration of the ILS.
“In every inch of the way, we feel happy that we took that decision to concession the airport.
“We are no longer putting in so much money to sustain the airport and happily, it is serving our people.
“Besides, your company in its social responsibility, has installed street lights along the expressway.
“It had stated that your target is to resume international flight, which is why you are ensuring these facilities work effectively,” Aniagwu said.
The Managing Director, Asaba Airport Company, Mr Christophe Pinnick, described the ILS verification with a drone as the first in the region.
According to him, the ILS was installed before the company took over the management of the airport in August 2021 because we could not calibrate it.
“In the past weeks, we invited specialists from South Africa that know how to tune the equipment.
“They have cut part of the hills in a way that it will not obstruct the signal from the ILS.
“The signal is important and this is what the pilot uses during landing, particularly during low visibility conditions. “This means that, in spite of the whether condition, aircraft can land without really seeing the runway for up to 800 meters,” Pinnick said.
He further said that the ILS was tuned to a certain angle that was regulated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
He further said that a Spanish company was engaged to do a verification of the ILS with a drone.
“Like in Europe, they use drone to verify if the ILS is properly tuned because drone gives a more accurate result than the aircraft.
“The specialist from Spain arrived two days ago, and with the four flights that we have done, we are on perfect angle, while we await NAMA aircraft to do the calibration and then we shall have a calibrated ILS in Asaba.
“So, hopefully any flight with difficulty in landing at the Benin airport and others, will enjoy safe landing in Asaba during poor whether conditions,” Pinnick further said.
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Wednesday said cooperation between the agencies involved in Hajj 2022 operation would engender smooth, safe, and efficient transportation of pilgrims to the Saudi Kingdom.
NAHCON’s Executive Officer, Alhaji Zikrullah Hassan said this when he paid a working visit to the Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu to avail him of measures that needed to be taken during the operations.
Hassan’s visit was in continuation of interaction with various stakeholders involved in the Hajj 2022 operation.
He also met Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Prof. Mansur Matazu, Director-General of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET); Dr Geoffrey Okatubo, Director Port Health Division, Federal Ministry of Health; and other relevant sister agencies.
The Chairman of NAHCON added that stakeholders involved in the Hajj 2022 operation would leave no stone unturned to ensure pilgrims’ comfort.
He urged the stakeholders to ensure all airports, aircraft, and airspaces were ready before the inaugural flight.
Hassan also called on the stakeholders to ensure they provided the basic health requirements for the Nigerian pilgrims, including the conduct of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, yellow card issuance, and Coronavirus immunisation before departure to avoid delays.
He praised the staff and management of the NCAA and other organisations that are part of the airline screening for doing a commendable job.
Speaking, the director-general assured pilgrims that all aircraft involved in the Hajj operation would be inspected to ascertain their airworthiness.
While speaking also, the managing director of NAMA said the airspace management agency was getting ready to enforce Hajj regulations, provide the list of flights to be used, and the immigration process.
Similarly, the NIMET managing director said that pre-Hajj inspection would be carried out, just as close monitoring and observation of the weather would be sustained before the take-off of each flight.
The workers of some agencies under Ministry of Aviation have started a two-day warning strike from Monday to Tuesday due to unresolved conditions of service.Mr Dauda Nanbol, the Chairman, FCT National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) said during the protest that the move was necessary as the notice of strike from the unions was unheeded.According to him, agencies involved in the protest are the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).Nanbol said that ongoing efforts by the Federal Ministry of Aviation and National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to resolve the issues did not show any positive sign of achieving results anytime.“ Consequently, our unions have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action to press home our demands for justice and equity.“Especially considering the long-suffering, patience and forbearance on the part of our members.“Accordingly, all workers in NAMA, NCAA, NiMet and NCAT are hereby directed to embark on a two-day warning strike from Monday to Tuesday.“Should the warning go unheeded, an indefinite strike shall be called soon after, “ he said.Mr Alao Adesina, NiMet Chairman, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) commended Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for implementing 10 per cent Consequential Adjustment.Adesina said that the effort made FAAN Conditions of Services outstanding among others.He hailed the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) that scheduled to hold discussions with the unions soon thereby making decision on the bureau pending.Mr Uzor Oluchi, NUATE-NiMet branch said the negotiation with the agencies for seven years remained with the NSIWC.He said that the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment remained unimplemented since 2019 for the concerned agencies under the ministry of Aviation.“Workers in all aviation organisations including FAAN and AIB are hereby directed to support and cooperate with the unions to ensure full compliance and success of the warning strike.“Air travelling public, all aviation business, including the foreign airlines are informed of the above circumstance and should review their itineraries and schedules accordingly, “ he said.(NAN)
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Matthew Pwajok, said the COVID-19 outbreak necessitated the idea of contingency planning at the agency.
Pwajok made the revelation while speaking at the Nigerian News Agency Forum on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that during the outbreak, the aviation industry was hit hard and NAMA was no exception as it suffered from a major revenue challenge being a self-funded agency.
“So if there's one thing we've learned to do, it's build a contingency, backup or recovery system or business continuity plan, where we'll be able to maintain services no matter what.
“We had some of these cases where we had to provide or relocate service delivery to a place like that.
“We also learned the need to build contingency funds, we are a government agency and you know TSA, all payments are in one account and it becomes difficult.
”Unlike when you have commercial banking, you can create an account where you can have dedicated funds in case of emergencies.
“In this case, we have learned the need to be able to build a financing system, where in the event of a situation like this that will affect income; we'll be able to have something to fall back on.
“The need to be able to build resilience both officially and in terms of equipment, in terms of personnel is very critical,” he said.From left: NAMA MD, Mr. Mathew Pwajok, MD, Mr. Buki Ponle, Editor-in-Chief, Silas Nwoha at Forum
Pwajok said there have been cases where an entire watch of air traffic controllers had to be isolated because one person was infected and they all had to be isolated and then tested before rejoining.
The head of NAMA said that in that case, the agency had to find additional manpower to provide and maintain the services.
"So, over time, we've learned the need for backup, the need for resiliency, the need for contingency planning both on the official side, both on the material and equipment and personnel side."
He explained that during the COVID-19 outbreak, airports had to be completely closed, services were basically restricted to essential flights; security flight, medical or cargo flights and other types of special flights such as diplomatic flights.
The head of NAMA said: “Because of the air navigation services and air traffic services that NAMA provides, there was no time when the airspace was closed.
“This is because we continually had a couple of special flights that were going to evacuate people or ambulance flights that were coming to transport sick people or diplomatic flights or other flights that were flying over Nigerian airspace.
“So, in NAMA, it can never be completely closed because we have an obligation to the international community to open our airspace for other airlines or other citizens of other countries that will need to fly over our airspace to other countries.
“So we provide services on an ongoing basis even if there was a closure and we have learned the need to build resiliency.”
Pwajok said that during the period, some of the NAMA staff contracted coronavirus, and according to the protocols, the facilities had to be closed and decontaminated before reopening.
He said that the control tower, being a critical and sensitive facility, could not be closed and that four mobile control towers have been acquired and two more are expected to arrive in the country soon. (www.)
The Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Mr. Matthew Pwajok, has called for the implementation of the Safety Management System (SMS) to reduce air accidents in the country.
Pwajok made the call in Abuja when he appeared on the Nigerian News Agency Forum .
He said that the security policy must be in line with the regional policy and added that it must be the number one priority in the aviation sector.
“Every organization should have a security policy. Our focus on security policy at the national level is in line with regional policy.
“We have the security objective of Abuja; Aviation and Transport Ministers met in July 2012 in Abuja and developed strategic security objectives to be implemented in Africa.
“And one of the key objectives there is that all states in Africa should work to reduce accidents, the percentage of fatal aircraft accidents.
“And those accidents include caused, runway confusion, runway excursion, loss of control in flight and control flight into terrain. These are the main global causes of fatal accidents around the world.
"So the meeting in Abuja is known as the Abuja safety goals and the priority is to reduce fatal accidents and strategic measures are entered for countries to implement to reduce these accidents," he said.
He explained that the country had witnessed a significant reduction in accidents due to the implementation strategies.
He added that there should be a requirement to improve the effective implementation of safety oversight by countries.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is the regulatory authority, must effectively monitor airlines and service providers like NAMA, NIMET and FAAN to ensure we are compliant.
“ They have been doing very well. Anything that happens to a plane, the NCAA is going to go in there and make sure it's long before it's launched.
` There should be a compromise in security policy that should be funded; there must be commitment to the implementation of the security plan or security policy.
“We are obliged to implement quality management, every service provider must implement the Security Management System (SMS)”, he added.
Pwajok said that the NCAA was also required to implement the State Safety Plan (SSP), while other agencies like NAMA, NIMET, FAAN are expected to implement the SMS to ensure the reduction of flight accidents.
He also added that the Quality Management System (QMS) will be implemented to ensure that safety is kept in line with the global requirement.