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Recovery Of N30b Debt May Ground Domestic Airlines

Despite the plummeting fortunes of domestic airlines in the country due to the harsh economy, they will have to pay up their debts worth more than N30 billion or be grounded by regulatory agencies.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) are going after airlines to recover over N30 billion debts accumulated in the last 16 years.

The Guardian learnt that the renewed debt recovery, following a directive from the Federal Government, will involve the deployment of all means possible to succeed, including grounding some airlines that have not embraced the option of a peaceful resolution.The debts were incurred from sundry services offered to commercial and chartered airlines operating on government-owned and private aerodromes.Sources disclosed that one of the most popular airlines in the country is indebted to FAAN to the tune of N12.5billion, and would soon be shut out of some routes. NAMA confirmed the development, estimating that N8.08 billion debt liabilities are to be reclaimed from airline operators and private and some state-owned airports.

A document shown to The Guardian revealed that domestic operators collectively owe NAMA N3.89 billion between 2001 and 2013. While that is still unpaid, the domestic airlines have also accrued N1.6 billion from January 2014 to June 2016. Some airlines that are already defunct are owing NAMA N1.048 billion, while private and state-owned aerodromes owe N1.54 billion.

A member of NAMA special committee on debt recovery said the agency was under enormous pressure to meet the Federal Government’s revenue target, coupled with an in-house liability burden, which the agency has to meet, especially on pension. Pension outstanding in the agency is in the tune of N18 billion, it was learnt.

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Recovery of N30b debt may ground domestic airlines

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