The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Capt. Musa Nuhu stated that the majority of the airline charges and levies imposed on indigenous and foreign airlines are not from aviation agencies or industry companies.
Nuhu stated this over the weekend in Abuja in an exclusive interview with NewsTimes.
Nuhu, reacting to the claim of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that Abuja and Lagos airports are the most expensive for airlines in terms of levies and charges with 27 charges, said that a lot of these charges are from the cargo area.
He posited that while some of these charges are genuine, others are illegal and have nothing to do with aeronautical charges.
He, however, posited that aviation agencies are looking at the way they could consolidate, streamline and merge some of the charges to make operations cheaper for the airline operators.
According to him, the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development had established a committee to look at these multitudes of revenues to see how they could be streamlined.
Mr. Kamil Al Alwadi, the Vice president, of IATA, Africa and Middle East, in his presentation at the Aviation Summit, had categorized Nigerian airports as the most expensive in the world
Alwadi berated the Nigerian government for stiffing airline operations with heavy and sundry taxes and charges.
He lamented the stunted growth in the region, especially Nigeria, calling on the Nigerian government to create a conducive environment for airlines to thrive.
Nuhu’s assurance on government addressing the challenges
He said: “But what we need to understand is that a lot of these charges are not from the aviation agencies, they are more in the cargo area. All sorts of people are illegally making these charges.
- “So, aviation will start, at least we will consolidate and see where we can streamline and merge those charges and see what can be done.
- “But there are a lot of people and lots of charges have nothing to do with aviation aeronautical charges. It is other organisations that are in the airport that put these charges. Sometimes as Nigerians, we need to all sit down as a team and see the damage we are doing to our country.”
He regretted that these multiple charges were creating a lull for cargo exports and one of the major reasons cargo aircraft depart the country almost empty despite arriving in the country with full freight.
On the harsh operating environment for indigenous airlines, Nuhu agreed that the environment was not conducive enough for operators to strive.
He maintained that no airline could operate in isolation from the economy it is operating in, stressing that the Nigerian economy was in a difficult period at the moment.
For instance, he insisted that no organization could survive with 25% interest loans charged by the banks, while their counterparts elsewhere are charged single-digit interest on loans.
- “You are not talking of your expenses, your cost, your current and long-term liabilities. Quite a few of them are in financial strait and some are okay.
- “So, that is the way it is. It is a very difficult environment for the airlines, and we also do sincerely sympathise with them, we will try and see where we have flexibility to make life easy for them.
- “Like the issue of insurance, the insurance is from Lloyds of London, from another country, while it requires a huge amount of foreign exchange.
- Normally, insurance they say is for one year, but we know an airline that has 20, or 30 aircraft like Air Peace for it to pay insurance is a huge task. That is why we say, ‘pay quarterly,’ at least to reduce the financial burden, especially on the requirement of getting foreign exchange at a time,” he said.