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FAAN cracks down on Airport touts, establishes Courts for prosecutions

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has intensified its efforts against extortion and illicit activities by touts at Nigerian airports.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, announced this initiative during a press briefing in Lagos on Saturday.

Kuku highlighted that numerous reports had been received about touts harassing and extorting passengers. She pledged to eliminate such illegal activities to ensure a seamless and pleasant experience for travelers.

The Director of Special Duties, Henry Agbebire, will lead a dedicated committee to combat these issues.

To enforce the zero-tolerance policy, magistrate courts will be established at international airports to expedite the prosecution of offenders.

Kuku also emphasized collaboration with all government agencies at the airports to ensure strict compliance with the new measures.

In addition, FAAN will set up dedicated phone lines and QR codes for passengers to provide feedback on their airport experience.

All airport personnel will be required to display their on-duty cards and name tags for easy identification and accountability.

This crackdown follows FAAN’s recent warning against bribes and extortion ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations, aiming to assure travelers of a smooth and secure journey.

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NCAA suspends 10 private jet operators over failure to begin recertification

National carrier gets licence today, local airlines fault process

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended 10 private jet operators over failure to commence the recertification process.

A statement signed by NCAA’s Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, said the suspension was rooted in its Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4 which forbids holders of Permit for Non-Commercial Flights (PNCF) from using their aircraft for carriage of passengers, cargo or mail for hire or reward which is commercial operation or charter service.

The suspended operators are Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd, Bli-Aviation Safety Services, Ferry Aviation Developments Ltd, Matrix Energy Ltd, Marrietta Management Services Ltd, Worldwide Skypaths Services, Mattini Airline Services Ltd, Aero Lead Ltd, Sky Bird Air Ltd and Ezuma Jets Ltd.

The authority also warned that engaging PNCF holders for commercial purposes is illegal.

It said, “And It will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions against any PNCF holder found guilty of illegal operations.”

In April, the NCAA suspended three private jet operators’ permits for commercial flights.

The Acting Director General of the NCAA, Chris Najomo, at the time, said the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, gave marching orders for the cessation of the use of private jets for commercial purposes in 2023 but the operators continued in such act.

“Subsequently, in March 2024, the NCAA had issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for non-commercial flights, PNCF, against engaging in the carriage of passenger-cargo or mail for hire and reward,” Najomo stated.

“The Authority had also deployed its officials to monitor activities of private jets at terminals across the airports in Nigeria.

“As a consequence of this heightened surveillance, no fewer than three private operators are involved in violation of the annexure provision of their PNCF and Part 9114 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the Authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.”

The regulator had also directed that all non-commercial flight permit holders be re-evaluated on or before April 19, 2024.

“All PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.

“This riot act is also directed at existing Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders, who utilise aircraft listed on their PNCF for commercial charter operations.”

The regulator stressed that only aircraft listed in the Operation Specifications of the AOC were authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist the affected aircraft from the PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specification.”

The NCAA urged the travelling public not to patronise any airline charter operator who does not hold a valid Air Operator Certificate issued by the NCAA.

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Aviation Minister announces suspension of $300 helicopter landing fee

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, on Friday, announced the temporary suspension of the controversial $300 helicopter landing fee.

The decision came after the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, rejected the fee, insisting that it was commercially injurious.

A statement by the spokesman of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Odutayo Oluseyi, said a committee has been charged to look into the issues raised by concerned stakeholders and submit a report before the end of June.

The statement reads, “Following a meeting with the AON executive on the issue bordering on Helicopter landing levies collection at Aerodromes, Helipads, Air Strips, etc, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has temporarily suspended the enforcement granted Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd, by the Federal Government, as consultants to collect such levies.

“The suspension is with effect from 30th May, 2024. This, the Minister said, is a result of clamor for review by some stakeholders in the industry.

“Accordingly, Keyamo has constituted a Committee with members drawn up from the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development and its relevant Agencies, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, International Oil Companies, IOCs, and Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd who are charged to look into the issues raised by concerned Stakeholders and submit a Report on or before end of June 2024.

“Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd was granted the exclusive right by the Federal Government as consultants to collect such levies which stakeholders have expressed their reservation on the appropriateness of the levies.

“The recommendation of the Committee would proffer a way forward.”

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NCAA to sanction Turkish airline for mistreating Nigerian passengers

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has said that it would not hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the organisation’s regulations to sanction Turkish Airlines over mistreatment of Nigerian passengers.

NCAA’s Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mr Michael Achimugu, disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

Achimugu said that President Bola Tinubu had directed the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and relevant agencies, to ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers were protected at all times.

He said the NCAA was currently mediating on the feud between the European carrier and aviation labour unions, who picketed the airline’s operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

According to him, the agency will not hesitate to roll out stiff penalties and sanctions to Turkish Airlines as Nigerian passengers are still stranded at the airport following its failure to airlift them to Istanbul.

Achimugu said the Federal Government and its agencies would spare no effort to call to order any airline that violates the rights of Nigerian passengers.

He added that the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, had in a virtual meeting on Tuesday from the United Kingdom, initiated reconciliatory moves between the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines and the unions.

He, however, said the representative of the airline exhibited some traits of impudence, which the regulator deemed amounted to lack of regard for the system.

Arising from the infraction, Achimugu said the Federal Government would not hesitate to look deep into the impasse with the possibility of extracting the right punishment if the carrier is found culpable.

The Federal Government, he said, would take every step to ensure the rights of Nigerian passengers are not trampled on by any carrier, including foreign airlines, in taking the right steps to address any infractions on their conditions of operations into the country.

He confirmed that over 300 passengers had been trapped in the imbroglio involving the Turkish Airlines, and aviation unions, as the carrier had canceled flights out of and into Nigeria until Thursday.

Achimugu said that though the carrier claimed to have communicated with passengers through electronic mail on the on-going hitch concerning its operations into and out of the country, some passengers still turned up at the Lagos Airport.

He said: “The NCAA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the inability of Turkish Airlines to operate flights out of Lagos Airport, due to the picketing of its operations by aviation unions.

“We will ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are not violated.

“President Bola Tinubu has directed the NCAA, FAAN and relevant agencies to ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are protected.

“Currently, the NCAA is engaging officials of Turkish Airlines, but we have observed some degree of insolence of the Country Manager, who engaged our D-G in a shouting match, he was even banging the table.

“This behaviour to the NCAA is unacceptable. At the end of our findings, if the airline is found culpable, we will invoke the relevant parts of our regulation Part 17, to met out the right punishment.”

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