The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has stopped the operations of Azman Air over the airline’s failure to remit N1.2 billion ticket sales charge (TSC) from passengers.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday, director-general of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the airline’s transport licence was also suspended over its failure to submit security clearance for the renewal of its licence which expired in April 2021.
Nuhu said the N1.2 billion debt was the revenue accrued from the five per cent ticket sales charge (TSC) and cargo sales charge (CSC) collected from air travellers by the airline.
TSC and CSC are shared among five aviation agencies which are the NCAA; the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.
NCAA gets 58 per cent from the total 5 per cent of TSC/CSC and it is the major revenue earning for the agency, while the other four agencies share the remaining 42 per cent.
Nuhu decried that the regulatory agency had made efforts to recover the debt from the airline over the years, but “the carrier was recalcitrant in paying back the sum despite collecting it from the passengers.”
Azman commenced scheduled operations in 2014.
Nuhu told aviation journalists that its management had held series of meetings with Azman Air leadership on how to pay back the debt, but both parties failed to reach an agreement.
He said that the airline’s management had promised to pay back the sum of N10 million monthly as part of the N1.2 billion debt, but said the regulatory body insisted on N50million monthly.
He said: “We didn’t suspend Azman Air’s Airline Operator certificate, but suspended their ATL, which had earlier expired.
”The ATL earlier expired in April 2021, but we gave the airline extension because of the disruption to aviation activities by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was what we did for other airlines, too. However, we wrote a reminder letter to the airline six months to the new expiring date, which is statutory.
“Later, the airline requested for another extension of 90 days, but we only granted it 60 days.
”At the expiration of the 60 days, we also gave it 30 days reminder, which elapsed on Wednesday night, yet nothing was done by the airline.”