Aviation probe: 47 airlines shut down operations within 30 years —Joji tells Reps

The Secretary General of Aircraft Operators Association of Nigeria (AOAN), Capt Mohammed Joji on Wednesday disclosed that 47 airlines operating in the country  folded up within the last 30 years due to bad policy formulation by successive administrations.

Joji disclosed this in Abuja yesterday before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation public hearing on ‘The Need To Rescue The Airlines From Imminent Collapse,’ which kicked off on Monday.

According to Joji, the affected  airlines were closed down in succession due  to “policy formulation-policy deviation and policy contradiction from the part of the executive.”

He also attributed the closure of the airlines to  “high operation cost leading to unstable operating environment such as NAMA charging dollars for domestic operators flying within the Nigerian airspace.

“It was for that reason the Presidential Task Force set-up by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo submitted its report in March 2006. The published white paper approved among other things the following: Government accepted the recommendation to grant zero tariff and VAT on the aircraft, aircraft spare parts and ground equipment; Government also approved the removal of the five per cent VAT on the ticket sales and cargo charges.

“The Task Force also noted that VAT is never charged on transportation in any part of the world because transportation is a basic service which drives the economy.

“The Task Force recommendation can be collaborated by the VAT Decree N0.102 of 1993.”

Joji also told the committee that “the approval of multiple destinations to foreign airlines has denied local operators earnings and this has to be stopped.

“NCAA policy of levying operators flying on schedule flight out of Nigeria is a punitive measure devoid of any economic sense to the airline.

“FAAN charges the most expensive land rate in the world at N60,000/Sq.Meter that is more expensive than choice lands in Victoria Island, Lagos and Asokoro in Abuja.”

Joji, however, submitted the 90-page report of the Presidential Task Force which he claimed was not implemented.

In his presentation, the Managing Director of Medview Airline, Mr Olanrewaju Lukman, said “if anything meaningful must be achieved in the proposed plan to rescue the aviation sector, then transparency must be the watch word.”