The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced that it had stopped airlines and ground handlers from growing their debts on the mandatory five per cent Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) and Cargo Sales Charges (CSC).
The Director General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, made this known during an interactive session with the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), in his Lagos office on Tuesday.
It was reported that in line with the Civil Aviation Act 2006, NCAA is saddled with the collection of five per cent sales charge on all tickets originating from the cargo operations and charter/contract flights.
Nuhu explained that NCAA had attached the payment condition to the issuance and renewal of Airline Operators Certificate (AOC) to new and existing operators to put a stop to the increasing debt of the airlines and ground handlers.
The director general explained that new airline operators were made to sign a tripartite agreement that the charges would automatically be deducted from them to avoid the problems associated with the payment of the charges in the past.
He said: “Almost all the airlines operating in the country have integrated to the automatic deduction of the five per cent ticket charges.
“What we have done now is that if you are coming in, we are not going to give you an Airline Operators Certifcate (AOC) until you sign the tripartite agreement for the automatic deduction so we don’t start arguing after six months.
“In the same vein, existing airlines that are seeking for AOC renewal are mandated to sign the automatic deduction to stop the debt profile from increasing.
On the legacy debts by the airlines, Nuhu said NCAA understood that the airlines, like other stakeholders in the industry, were passing through hard times.
The director general said the operators would not be forced to pay their debts at once, but they had to come up with plans on how to pay the debts without allowing a growth.
He added that NCAA was working with the operators to come out with plans and a lot of them have complied and very soon they were going to start talking to them one by one on how to settle their whole debts.
“We know we are all in difficult times, so we can’t say give us all our money but also you have to bring a reasonable plans on how you want to settle this amount,” the DG said.
Nuhu said the legacy debts would be reconciled and agreed upon with the affected airlines before the payment plans would be fully activated.
The director general also commended officials of Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) for their efforts at addressing the payment of the debts.