- AON Says Airlines Need VAT Removal, Forex Availability, Not Just Cash Bailout
Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has finally stated how the federal government can help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation sector.
According to Obi Mnabuzuo, the Operating Officer, Dana Air, Nigerian airlines are not necessarily seeking cash bailout but support to resume operation without having to lay off their staff or cut operations.
He also stated that the airline companies want a market price reflective aviation fuel now that crude oil price has dropped substantially, saying marketers are still selling fuel to them at old prices.
“We don’t know what nature of bailout government wants to give the aviation industry, but contrary to those speaking against the bailout, we are not really looking for cash. The last bailout was done with the banks; some airlines are still paying for it. AON has made its position clear in the request it made to the government.
“We are looking at the removal of VAT, we are requesting for availability of forex. There was an effort to remove VAT but it was not gazetted; they have removed duty on aircraft spares but you still pay Customs duty when you import aircraft.
“On the discussion that government should give airlines waivers, the agencies would say that it is their source of revenue but I think these things should be reviewed,” he said.
He explained that “For example, we pay en route and terminal charges to the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) but we do not utilise the service of NAMA en route; the airlines take care of that one because navigational aids do not work on the airways until you are on approach. The ground based navigational aids are not working. For example, there should be Voice Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) in Bida area but it is not working. Pilots rely on instrument onboard their aircraft. So we expect that there should be a review of those charges. They should remove enroute charges for domestic airlines.”
Mnabuzuo also urged the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to review its policy of charging domestic airlines in US dollars whenever they fly West Coast and other international services despite the fact that they sell tickets in local currency.
“The idea that once a local airline takes off to destination like Accra, Ghana it will be charged in dollars, $50 passenger service charge and $20 security charge is not good because we generate revenue in naira; so we expect that government should look into it,” Mbanuzuo added.
Last Week, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) called on the federal government to make bailout of the aviation sector a priority to protect jobs.
This was after Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, said the nation’s airlines are losing around N17 billion to the lockdown brought about by COVID-19.
He, therefore, said unfortunately many airlines won’t come out of this.
He said “Certainly in civil aviation, we’re in very difficult moments like everyone else…but we are worst hit than any other sector. Some N17bn monthly is being lost by the Airlines to COVID-19.”
“This is the situation of civil aviation. It is really a pathetic one and I can guarantee you that several airlines won’t come out of this unfortunately.”
“To open up and start business as usual, there are safety issues and concerns. Those airplanes have been kept, and when we see going to bring them back into service, we will ensure their worthiness.
“For the flight crew, there are certain standards they must conform to, like ensuring they are up to date with their licensing. Their medical health and proficiency in order to conduct a very dare flight must be ascertained.”
FG Includes Emirates Airlines in Restricted Flights
FG Restricts Emirates Airlines From Flying Nigeria
The Federal Government on Friday said it has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to fly into Nigeria as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this via his official Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the decision was taken after a meeting between members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and European Union ambassadors.
The minister said the ban would take effect on Monday, September 21, 2020.
“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Hadi Sirika tweeted.
“The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020.”
FG to Absorb Exited N-power Beneficiaries into New Program
Exited N-power Beneficiaries to Be Absorbed into Another Program
The Federal Government has commenced plans to absorb exited N-power beneficiaries into a new program in an effort to help them eke a living.
Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the statement at an interactive forum with state focal persons of the National Social Investment Programmes in Abuja.
She said: “As we renew our commitment to the service of humanity, I will like to cease this opportunity to once again state that we have successfully exited Batch A and B of the N-Power beneficiaries in June and July respectively and we are still working towards ensuring a transition plan that will further engage or absorb them into other programmes.”
Sadiya also stated that the selection process of the Batch C N-power application will be thorough and base on merit.
“We have also received over 5 million applications from proposed N-Power Batch C and we are currently in the process of selecting the qualified beneficiaries coming into the programme.
“I assure all the applicants and Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent,” she said.
She added that, “I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors. Also, the final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.
The minister urged state coordinators to discharge their duties diligently and not let her down.
“It is against this background that I urge everyone of you to continue to give in your best to ensure the lives of those we are called to serve are made better.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that each one of the vulnerable persons are not mere numbers or statistics but real people with dreams, hopes, aspirations and a desire to live decent lives in peace and safety,” he submitted.
FG Says All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations
All Airports Are Now Open for Domestic Flight Operations Says FG
The Federal Government on Monday said all airports in the country are officially open for domestic flight operations.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.
Hadi, however, noted that operators flying into private-owned airports must know the status of such airports.
Speaking at the PTF Briefing, the minister said there is no need for flight approval within Nigeria again as all airports are now opened for domestic operations.
He said, “All airports in Nigeria are now open for domestic flights, including those that are for private charter operations.
“They (operators) will no longer need approvals from us to operate domestically within government-owned airports. However, for the private airports, operators should check their safety status with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“Such airports are Jalingo, Uyo, Asaba, Gombe, Nasarawa, Damaturu, Osubi, etc. So you don’t need any approval from the minister, but you should check the status of these airports with the NCAA.”
Commenting on international chartered flights, the minister said they need approvals to flight out of the country.
He said, “All flights out of the country that are private charter will still need approvals for those kind of flights, including technical stops.
“So with this, it means that the approvals that are sent via the NCAA, NAMA and myself will cease and if there is any change, it will be so advised accordingly.”
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