Some private and state-owned airports in the country are owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) millions of naira. For this reason, the regulator is threatening to shut down its services at these airports unless the debts are paid on or before April 30th, 2019.
According to a circular issued yesterday, FAAN‘s Credit Control Department gave the latest ultimatum after an earlier one was not heeded by the airports.
For years now, FAAN said it has been struggling to recover debts from the airports. Apparently, it can no longer remain patient.
“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.”
Here are the airports owing FAAN
A total of seven state-owned airports and two privately-owned ones are owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria millions of naira worth of debts.
These airports include:
- Jigawa State Airport
- Kebbi State Airport
- Gombe State Airport
- Victor Attah International Airport in Akwa Ibom State
- Bayelsa International Cargo Airport
- Taraba State Airport
- Delta State Airport
- Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2)
- The Osubi Airport in Delta State.
Out of the nine, the Kebbi State Airport and Gombe State Airport are said to be owing FAAN a combined total of N731,873,721.
The implications of FAAN withholding its services
Services offered by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at Nigeria’s airports are many. They range from aerodrome and fire fighting services to security. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) stipulates that without these services on ground, no planes should take off or land in any airports.
Moreover, if FAAN eventually shuts down its services at the above-mentioned airports, another implication of that is that the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) would be directed to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to restrict operations at the airports.
As explained by a source who is familiar with the situation:
“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.”
The economy could be affected
If the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria goes ahead with its April 30 planned shutdown of operation across nine airports in the country, there is no doubt that the Nigerian economy would suffer for it. This is because many flights would be cancelled, many of which could be business-related. Moreover, the airports themselves and airline companies could lose money as a result.