Traffic controllers seek mandatory, prompt remittance of dues

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), said regular remittance and revenue are crucial to effective maintenance of airport facilities and survival of the industry.

•NAMA trains AIS cadets in Lagos, Kano

Air traffic controllers have urged the Federal Government to mandate the prompt payment of dues and levies from operators in the aviation sector.

The stakeholders, under the aegis of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), said regular remittance and revenue are crucial to effective maintenance of airport facilities and survival of the industry.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has rounded off a four-week On-the-job Training (OJT) for 48 Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) Cadets of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The OJT, which took place at designated airports in Lagos and Kano centres, is part of the critical requirements for the cadets to attain certification by NCAT as full AIS Officers.

NATCA made the call in the light of airline operators’ call for friendly environment amidst a backlog of about N15 billion debt allegedly owed by some operating and defunct airlines.

President of the association, Victor Eyaru, said in as much as they understood the plight of the airlines, their flight operations were equally dependent on aviation service-providers, offering functional system that is not cheap.

Eyaru reasoned that since airline operators are paid for the services they render to the flying public, they should in turn be ready to pay for the services offered to them by the aviation agencies.

He said it was quite disheartening that some members of Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) constituted themselves as clogs in the wheel of progress of the aviation industry by refusing to pay stipulated charges for the services they are provided with by the agencies.

He observed that the AON in 2006 engaged Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) in a legal battle on the payment of Terminal Navigational Charges (TNC) and En-route Navigational Charges (ENC).

Whereas the matter was finally laid to rest by the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court on 28th February, 2014 in favour of NAMA, till date, “some members of the AON refused to obey the law of the land employing different means to circumvent the judgment”.

According to the enabling Act No.48 of 1999 part III Section 7 (a), NATCA reminded that NAMAs statutory obligation is to provide Air Traffic Management systems within the Nigerian Airspace.

“As an IGR-sustaining agency, NAMA derives its funding from services rendered to airspace users as empowered by part V Section II (b) (i) of the same Act. Many air navigational service providers in the world rely on similar charges to fund their operations. This reduces the financial burden on the Federal Government, encourages rapid development and renewal of facilities in the industry which in turn enhances quality of service delivery and air safety.

“In line with international practices, aviation charges were reviewed as they relate to different services provided by each of the agencies. The five per cent Tickets and Cargo Sales collected by airlines and operators on behalf of the agencies is the direct contribution of travelling public to funding the industry’s operations.

“Unfortunately, the collected charges, running to several millions of naira, are not being remitted promptly by the airlines and operators who are mostly members of AON despite the fact that they collected the charges on cash-and-carry basis,” he said.

General Secretary of NATCA, Banji Alawode, urged the Federal Government and relevant authorities to call the airlines to order.

The cadets, who commenced their nine-month Basic Aeronautical Information Management Officers Course (BAIMO) in October 2016, have been exposed to fundamentals in Maps and Charts, Air Traffic Services (ATS), Meteorology, Communication, Navigation, Surveillance/ Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM), Aerodrome Ground Aids (AGA), Aircraft Operating Characteristics (AOC) among other courses and are due to graduate in August 2017.

Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, congratulated the cadets for their excellent performance during the OJT, saying the result of the training showed that staff of the agency appreciate efforts of management towards building capacity of workers.

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