The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cleared the misunderstanding prevailing over the newly-introduced charges for general aviation operators, saying the charges were meant for the airlines that operate non-schedule commercial services and that the taxes replace all previous charges such as the landing and parking fees, the en-route navigational charges and the passenger service charge.
These charges which are now called luxury tax by some industry operatives, include non-schedule services by large body aircraft for international and local operations like charter services for the United Nations.
The coordinating General Manager, Corporate Communications for aviation agencies, Yakubu Dati, made the clarification in Lagos yesterday when he confirmed that Nigerian registered aircraft in this category would pay $3,000 (N480,000), per flight, while aircraft with foreign registered aircraft would pay $4,000 (N640,000) per flight.
Dati said: “In addition to the charges they replaced, the new charges cover for newly introduced niche services for the category of clients such as the use of the new General Aviation Terminal (GAT) facilities, including luxury VIP lounges, pilot lounges and crew rest rooms, as well as refreshments.”
He further said the charges were based on the tariffs that are charged by these operators for their services, noting that this segment of the air transport industry “is one of the key focus areas of the Federal Ministry of Aviation in its ongoing industry transformation efforts and major investments have been and are still being made to provide appropriate infrastructural facilities for their services.”
Dati also explained that the charges were not meant for anybody that has and operates private jets but for those who use it for commercial purposes, including those who use foreign registered and locally registered aircraft.
This means that those who operate their aircraft for private business are exempted from these charges, as explained by the regulatory body in advertorial, which stated that only those who operate non-scheduled commercial flights are eligible to pay the charges.
However, to prevent conflicts over the companies that could manage aircraft in the country, NCAA has listed 26 airlines as those with Airline Operator Certificate (AOC) that could manage and operate aircraft in the country and these include Aero Contractors Company Nigeria Limited, Allied Air Limited, Arik Air Limited, Associated Aviation Limited and Atlantic Aviation Limited.
Others are Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited, Caverton Helicopters, Chanchangi Airlines Limited, Dana Airlines, Dornier Aviation Nigeria AIEP Limited, First Nation Airways (SS) Limited and Hak Air Limited.
This list also includes IRS Airlines Limited, Jed Air, Kabo Airlines Limited, King Airlines and Travel Limited, Max Air Limited, Med View Airlines Nigeria Limited and Odengene Air Shuttle Services Limited.
There are also Overland Airways Limited, Pan African Airlines Nigeria, Skybird Air, Skyjet Aviation Services Limited, Skypower Express Airways Nigeria Limited, Topbrass Aviation Limited and West Link Airways.
Dati also said this explanation became necessary because of the controversy raised by the introduction of the charges as many believed that they are blanked charges on all private jet operations.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that presidential movement, which forced the closure of the Abuja airspace was said to have caused the delay of the take-off of Arik Air flight to Calabar from the capital city last Thursday, arriving later at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport than envisaged.
Apparently, the presidential movement, it was gathered, had to force the pilot to return to the airport of departure with about 100 passengers, including the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke.
The NCAA had said it would sanction the airline for breaching safety regulation by flying to an airport known for daylight operation after sunset.