The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has reportedly disclosed it has withdrawn security and aerodrome rescue and firefighting personnel from Gombe and Kebbi States over the gross indebtedness in the tune of N732.4 million.
The shutting down of the two Airports was reportedly confirmed by FAAN General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, on Thursday in Lagos State.
According to Yakubu, the withdrawal of FAAN services from both Airports whose flight operations have been technically grounded takes effect from May 1.
Earlier Developments – FAAN had earlier in April threatened to shut down its services from nine Airports where operators have not paid for services rendered. Basically, FAAN credit control department released a circular detailing sanctions to be mete to the indebted Ports.
“FOLLOWING THE ‘NOTICE OF INTENTION TO SANCTION’ ISSUED TO OWNERS/OPERATORS OF PRIVATE AIRPORTS INDEBTED TO FAAN WHICH LAPSES ON WEDNESDAY, 24TH APRIL 2019, FAAN HEREBY SERVES ANOTHER SEVEN DAYS NOTICE OF GRACE TILL TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 2019, FOR THEM TO SETTLE THE DEBTS.
“IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE AUTHORITY HEREBY NOTIFIES PRIVATE AIRPORT OPERATORS THAT THE SERVICES OF OUR AVIATION SECURITY, AS WELL AS AERODROME RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING PERSONNEL, WILL NO LONGER BE AVAILABLE FOR OPERATIONS OF THEIR AIRPORTS WITH EFFECT FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2019, AS FAAN CAN NO LONGER KEEP THIS PERSONNEL AT AIRPORTS WITHOUT PAYMENT.”
According to FAAN, the listed Airports under watch light are Jigawa State Airport, Kebbi State Airport, Gombe State Airport and Victor Attah International Airport in Akwa Ibom State. Bayelsa International Cargo Airport, Taraba State Airport, Delta State Airport. Other Airports are Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) and the Osubi Airport in Delta State.
Breakdown of Gombe and Kebbi Sanctions – According to FAAN, Gombe Airport which is owned by the Gombe State Government owes a whooping sum of N607.9 million. Similarly, Kebbi Airport is owned by Kebbi State Government and owes 124.5 million.
By this sanction, it implies that flight operations will no longer take effect in these two Airports until further notice.
The implication for travellers in these states – According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), no planes should take off or land at airports without these services available provided by FAAN.
In the absence of these services, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) would be directed to issue a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to restrict operations at the airports.
This implies that passenger in these states may have to spend more to travel to neighbouring states such as Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to catch with their trips. This is not good for the economy of the states as workers may be laid off and worsen the revenue base of the citizens.