Azman Air has joined the list of airlines now indefinitely suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA

NCAA withheld Azman Air Transport License, ATL, on 15th of September, 2022, pending when the airline provides required documentation for its operational licenses renewal and sign a Memorandum of Understanding on how it would remit over N1.2bn legacy debt accrued from collection of Passenger Service Charge, PSC.

An ATL is issued as authorisation to airlines to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services. It is one of the licenses received by airlines before they can commence operation just as they await the Air Operator Certificate, AOC, which fully guarantees them the right to begin air services.

Without an ATL, the AOC becomes invalid.

Who are the airlines on suspension?

Azman’s indefinite suspension is coming barely two months after the suspension of Dana Airlines on July 20, 2022, in pursuant to Section 35(2), 3(b) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.

Another airline suspended same month, was Aero Contractors.

It flight operations was suspended due to its inability to sustain daily operations as a result of hike in Jet A1, along with other financial constraints.

Following the suspension, a total of three domestic airlines operating 23 aircrafts are not in operation, thus creating more passenger traffic in the country.

But while Dana Airlines and Azman Air were suspended by the NCAA, Aero Contractors suspended its operations indefinitely following economic realities.

What will happen if licenses stay revoked?

The suspension would affect travel through parts of the country and internationally.

The development will impact capacity on other route within the country negatively.

Officials and staff of the airlines will be left jobless for the period of suspension.

The development has impacted travels significantly, as the suspensions have reduced the number of aircraft in operations to 36 from 123, with grounded aircraft currently at 87.

Already, the grounding asides the scarcity and spike in Jet A1 fuel, has caused airfares to skyrocket as across the country, which may force passengers to pay more.

There had been indications that domestic flight movements would be threatened, following the grounding of three airlines operations over capacity in the past three months.

Why we suspended the Airlines — NCAA

NCAA Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu, confirmed the suspensions and said the move is not particularly aimed at Azman or Dana but that all indebted airlines would need to comply with these rules to enable them renew their ATL.

Speaking particularly about Azman, He said:”Azman Air must provide Tax Clearance as one of the documentation for its ATL and must sign the MOU to negotiate its debt remittance which is part of the N42 billion and $7.8 million debt in PSC.

“This is not a charge and this is not their money, its monies collected in trust for us from passengers and they squandered it. We are not asking them for an interest rate, no penalties, we just want our funds remitted. We asked them to sit and negotiate as they collected on our behalf and refused to remit.

” I cannot keep explaining to the Minister, to the Accountant General, to the Presidency why we cannot remit money meant for them to them. We have been forced to carry out this action.

“Everyone is having challenges, difficulties and this is not restricted to the industry stakeholders alone, the airlines, ground handlers and other service providers as even the agencies have the same problem in the issues of funds.

“We know that if we tell them to give us all these monies at the same time, it is very difficult and not possible, so, what we have put in place in NCAA and to prevent the debts from growing, we have put in place a tripartite agreement; the NCAA, airlines and the airlines’ banks. So, once those funds go to the bank, the 5 per cent TSA/CSC is automatically deducted and goes into the NCAA bank and NCAA will share it with the other sister agencies on a pre-determined ratio as entrenched in the 2006 Civil Aviation Act.

“What we have said is that if they don’t pay this legacy debt, we are not going to renew their licenses; AOC, ATL. That is one of the conditions and most of them have entered into the agreement.”


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