At long last, the list of other beneficiaries of the palliative in the aviation industry has been released by the authorities. Interestingly, it was not only the airlines that benefited from the largesse as aviation ground handling companies, aviation fuel marketers, registered airport taxi operators and travel agents were among the beneficiaries.
The palliative was created by the federal government to help get them out of the woods following the devastating effects of the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that nearly destroyed the aviation and travel industry following travel restrictions and lockdown occasioned by the rampaging disease.
The media reported on Monday that both scheduled and non-scheduled received N3 billion and N1 billion respectively from the government amid secrecy that the whole exercise was shrouded in. It is not yet clear how much all the carriers got, an airline operator who is privy to the bailout fund said a non-scheduled operator based in Kaduna (Name withheld) received N31 million while another (Name withheld) which once operated to Dubai and London and which is currently re-organising its operation received N50 million and another (Name withheld) which recently welcomed back two aircraft from maintenance got N225 million.
A source stated that Azman and Air Peace got the largest amount totaling nearly N500 million each. The criteria used for disbursement was hinged on the fact that they collectively form the bulk of domestic operations and their expansion plans.
Aside airlines that were helped with public funds, ground handling companies, National Association of Travel Agencies, Aviation fuel marketers as well as airport car hire services partook from this largesse although there was no specificity of who got what. The N4, 995,999,999.90 arrived at is after 5% deductions from all airlines indebted to service providers and regulatory agencies to the tune of N203, 999,990.95 making a total of N4, 796, 000,009.04.
The deductions stand at 50% for FAAN at N75, 000,000.03; NAMA 25% at N37, 500,000.01 and the NCAA also at 25 % for N37, 500,000.01 making a total deduction for scheduled operators at N150, 000,000. 05 bringing the net pay accruable to the scheduled operators at N2, 849,999,999.95. Non-scheduled operators got a total amount of N1, 000, 000, 000 with a total deduction of N950, 000, 009.10 to aviation agencies including FAAN, NAMA and NCAA getting N 24,999,995.45 at 50% for FAAN. N12, 499, 997.73 at 25% each for both NAMA and the NCAA bringing total deductions for non-scheduled to N49, 999,990.90. Ground handling companies, Aviation fuel marketers and catering services got N233, 333, 333.33 each. The National Association of Travel Agencies (NANTA) received a total of N196, 000,000.00 with a N4, 000, 000.00 deductions.
Airport Car Hire Association of Nigeria (ACHAN) received from the ministry, N100, 000,000.00 bringing the total amount to N4, 995,999,999.90. Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika had on November 2, 2020 announced the approval of N4 billion to troubled Nigerian airlines and N1 billion to various aviation agencies.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi, described the amount as too small to solve the problems of the airlines. “N4b is very little to solve some of the problems of the airlines who are battling to survive. We urge the government to take charge of the sector. They need to give them more and they also need to support in all ways”.
He warned that if nothing was done to assist the carriers, the tendency for them to cut corners was very high in the midst of dwindling liquidity. “Yes, the airlines are in business, but we cannot continue to look at them without offering them assistance. I am not comparing Nigeria with the United States, but I think we can do better than the N4b we are assisting them with”.