The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that airline operators in the country now risk two-year imprisonment, N5 million fine, or both penalties over failure to remit statutory Ticket Sales and Cargo Sales Charges.
The punitive provisions, among others, are included in the new Civil Aviation Act 2022, which was just signed into law by President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
According to The Guardian, the NCAA had accused operators of withholding required 5% Ticket Sales Charge and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC) to the tune of roughly N19 billion and $7.8 million, so purposefully starving regulators and service providers of cash (N3.29 billion).
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, respectively, owe the airlines N18 billion and N5 billion in debt. The airlines are heavily in debt to NAMA for terminal and navigational fees, as well as FAAN for landing and parking fees.
According to the Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the new Act had strengthened the industry to tackle reckless practices of airline operators and serial indebtedness to the agencies.
According to the Act’s Section 23(10), the NCAA may authorize the airlines to collect the 5% TSC/CSC on its behalf and may also specify the way and timing of returns of monies.
The Act equally punishes operator’s directors whose airlines fail to send these monies to the CAA within the allotted period with a N5,000,000 fine, two years in prison, or both.
In addition to penalties, Nuhu intimated that the Authority was examining the revalidation of the Air Operators Certificate from two to five years for scheduled carriers and three years for non-scheduled operators.