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Suspension Of $300 Helicopter Landing Levy Right Step — AON


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Thursday applauded the federal government’s suspension of the 300 dollars helicopter landing and take-off levy as a step in the right direction.

The AON made this known in a statement signed by its Spokesperson, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, in Lagos.

Okonkwo commended the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN) on the suspension, saying it would support growth and sustainability of operators in the industry.

He said that AON and other stakeholders’ stance on the matter was not ignored, as the minister listened and acted appropriately.

According to him, the controversial landing and take-off fee to be collected by Messrs. Naebi Dynamic Concepts Limited, started in 2018, with the company demanding the levies to be paid in dollars, contrary to the provision of section 15 of the CBN Act.

The fees were to be paid for helicopter landings and take-offs on and from oil rig platforms and private helipads, among others.

Okonkwo said that the company had proposed to the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who wrote to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for comments.

He said that the NCAA, however, said there was no legal justification for the introduction of the levy.

Okonkwo said that the NCAA had stated that aside certification of helipads, most of which are privately-owned, and for which it charged certification fee, it did not provide any service to helicopter operators that would justify the imposition of such fee.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which manages airports also had neither legal framework nor justification to impose such a charge, other than at its airports, which helicopter operators pay just like other aircraft operators in Nigeria.

According to him, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has as one of its functions, under its Act, provision of navigation services necessary for the operation of aircraft taking off or landing, and to integrate them into the overall air traffic within the Nigerian airspace.

He said that NAMA did not charge helicopter landing and take-off fee on or from oil rig platforms, Field Support Programme Officers (FSPOs) and private helipads, because it did not provide any service in respect thereto, to the operators.

He said that Section 7(1) (r) of the NAMA Act which was in force at the time was clear that NAMA should charge fees only for the services provided by the Agency, and helicopter operators pay the air navigation charges as generated on monthly basis just like every other aircraft operator in Nigeria.

Okonkwo said that AON rejected the imposition of the suspended Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee for several reasons.

He said that NAMA does not provide any additional service to helicopter operators to justify the imposition of the fee at all helipads, oil rig platforms, FSPOs, FSOs among others.

Okonkwo said that when no service is provided at those locations to the helicopter operators by NAMA, such levy is contrary to the provision of section 7 (1) (r) of the then applicable NAMA Act as well as to section 1, paragraph 2 (1) of ICAO Document 9082 for such impositions.

He said that NAMA did not adhere to the policies, principles and guidelines contained in ICAO Documents 9082 (ICAO’s Policies on Charges for Airports and Air Navigation Services) and 9161 (Manual on Air Navigation Services Economics).

Before imposing the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee. Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (e) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations requires NAMA to adhere to the policies, principles and guidelines contained in those documents.

He said NAMA did not obtain the approval of NCAA before imposing the new charge.

Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (b) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations require NAMA to obtain the approval of NCAA before imposing any new charges and fees for its services.

The NCAA has the statutory power to regulate the charges that may be made in respect of air traffic control and for the use of aerodromes and for services provided at such aerodromes.

He said that NAMA did not consult the helicopter operators and other stakeholders before imposing the Helicopter Landing and Take-off Fee.

Okonkwo said Part 18, section 18.8.1.1 (d) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations requires NAMA to adhere to the principles and procedures of consultation with users, cost-relatedness, non-discrimination and transparency in the application of charges and fees.

He noted that contrary to the Ministry’s Press Release of May 13, neither NCAA nor FAAN was a party to the MoU between NAMA and Naebi Dynamic Concepts Limited. (NAN)

 


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