FAAN to withdraw services at airports over debts

THE Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has  threatened to withdraw its services from some private and state airports that are owing it.

The private airports to be affected  include the Osubi Airport near Warri, Delta State, and the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2 ).

The state airports are Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Delta State Airport, Asaba, Bayelsa International Cargo Airport, in Ammassona, Gombe State Airport, in Gombe, Jigawa State Airport, Dutse, Kebbi State Airport, Birnin Kebbi and Taraba State Airport, Jalingo.

FAAN services include security, aerodrome rescue and fire-fighting personnel. In the absence of these, there will be no flights, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

For some years, FAAN has been battling private/state airports  over  huge debts.

Investigations reveal that Gombe Airport and Kebbi Airports  are owing over N 731, 873, 721.

While the Gombe State Airport is  owing N607, 289, 972, Kebbi owed N124, 547, 240 as at September 10, last year.

FAAN’s Credit Control Department recently issued an ultimatum to the airports to clear their debts or face sanctions. It will expire on April 30.

The circular read: “Following the notice of intention to sanction issued to owners/operators of private airports indebted to FAAN which lapses on Wednesday 24th April, 2019, FAAN hereby serves another seven days notice of grace  till Tuesday April  30, 2019 for them to settle the debts

“In view of the above, the authority hereby notifies private airport operators that the services of our aviation security as well as aerodrome rescue and fire fighting personnel will no longer be available for operations of their airports with effect from Wednesday, May 1, 2019, as FAAN can no longer keep these personnel at airports without payment.”

The sanction, it was learnt, would include FAAN directing the  Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to restrict operations at the airports.

A source at the regulator’s office explained: ”The position is that FAAN has an MoU with all the privately-owned aerodromes to provide aviation security for them and NCAA approved. If that is withdrawn, it follows that there is no security in those airports and the Authority will have the grounds to close them them.”

Last year, NAMA’s Managing Director, Captain Fola Akinkuotu said the agency  withdrew air traffic services from some private airports and airstrips over indebtedness.

NCAA’s Director General, Captain Mukthar Usman said flights will not take place in any airport unless it has fire and securuty cover.

The authority  , it was learnt, has been briefed on the matter.

The NCAA will not certify flights from any airport unless it has fire cover and aviation security services provided by FAAN.

A few months ago, FAAN set up a committee to map out plans to boost revenue generation for the agency from non-aeronautical sources.

Its Managing Director, Saleh Dunoma stated this to reporters in Lagos.

Dunoma said it was high time airport authorities on the continent diversified their revenue generation from aeronautic to non-aeronautic, stressing that other airport managers across the world had already keyed into this.

He insisted that the committee, which he chaired, consisted of relevant directorates and departments responsible for revenue generation for FAAN and would come out with a roadmap to enhance revenues for the agency

He declared that FAAN could not be left behind in development of its airport infrastructure, stressing that the only way to achieve this was for it to diversify its revenue generation and tap into the myriad of opportunities in the system.

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