The Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Engineer Ibrahim Abdulsalam, said that the agency was working on new modalities to recover debts owed by local airlines.
Abdulsalam who was chatting with aviation correspondents in Lagos recently also said that international carriers operating in Nigeria had been up to date in paying their charges to the agency.
He said that if the debt owed by the local carriers was not properly addressed it would lead to the grounding of services offered by NAMA and other agencies in the aviation industry.
“We should work out modalities for payment of debts owed by the airlines. That is why we are not releasing the figure they owe us.
“It is our local airlines that have been defaulting in payment; they are part of our system and we have to be moderate with them.
“Nobody goes to fly on credit; you have to pay for the ticket. If we ground the airlines, people will be affected,’’ he said.
He further said that NAMA Management is planning a reconciliation meeting between the Agency and the umbrella body of all the other local airlines- Airline Operators of Nigeria [AON] in a bid to look at the debts profile of all its member airlines in order to fast-track recovery of their historical and overlapping debts.
Stressing further he said that Arik Air is not a member of AON, so the agency had been discussing with a consultant of Arik Airline on the debt owed by the carrier.
He said that NAMA would work with other agencies in the aviation industry to prepare for the International Civil Aviation Organisation Security Audit (ICAOSA) that will take place in June.
The agency’s helmsman stated that the federal government had helped NAMA in offsetting its debt on the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project.
Abdulsalam said that the new Navigational Aids equipment just procured by the agency would be installed at six airports across the country.
Engineer Abdulsalam also noted that solutions to issue such as this was better resolved through a ‘ round table approach’ rather than applying sanctions.