The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has closed some airlines counters at Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja over debts owed by the airlines.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu who confirmed the development said it was FAAN revenue drive efforts in Abuja airport. Some of the domestic airlines are said to be owing FAAN several millions of Naira since last year, even before the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.
The counters were sealed , according to sources, because the airlines were unwilling to offset their debts despite several entreaties.
Passengers on Azman airline to Maiduguri and other places could not buy tickets or even board their flights as staff of the airlines were unable to complete ticket and boarding formalities as the FAAN task force sealed off the counters. Also affected are aero contractors passengers and many others. Commenting on the development, one of the affected stakeholders said : “The passengers were stranded because the airlines failed to pay bills which the customers had already provided funds for.”
“We have joined to condemn FAAN on occasions of poor service delivery, we should also call out debtor airlines who owe FAAN and not allowing it earn in other to perform its duties.
FAAN should use any legal means to collect its monies. Some airlines are chronic debtors. If everybody do their part we will have a functional sector. Not paying your bills when you have received the funds should not be encouraged either. Much stiffer sanctions could have been applied.”
Another stakeholders however blamed FAAN. He said : “ The problem with our FAAN over the years has been its lackadaisical attitude to revenue collection. Sometimes, it is either the other company claims irregular billing or inaccurate billing or irreconcilable differences in their billing system. FAAN has also failed as much as it had tried to engender Automation in billing and payment system.
We have advocated some safety measures severally, but same system. The worst part is the diversion of same funds to private pockets, ” he added.