Commercial Airlines Lose N25bn Annually to Illegal Charter Operators - Gragrah News!
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Commercial Airlines Lose N25bn Annually to Illegal Charter Operators

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Friday, May 10, 2013 | 5/10/2013 11:49:00 am

Both scheduled airlines and charter operators with commercial licences in Nigeria lose over N25 billion annually to illegal operators which use private licensed aircraft to operate for hire and for reward, THISDAY has learnt.

The target of these illegal operators are high net worth individuals, captains of industries and others who would otherwise patronise the business class cabins of domestic airlines or the licensed charter operators.

Over the years these illegal operators dominated air charter services because of poor regulation and enforcement, as it is cheaper for them to operate such services because they do not pay taxes and charges to the regulatory body, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
These operators are not also subjected to the stringent maintenance conditions that NCAA subjects scheduled operators and commercial licensed charter operators to.

In addition, the illegal operators use foreign registered equipment, which helps them to shirk financial and regulatory obligations that locally registered aircraft with commercial licence are subjected to.

An airline operator and experienced aviator told THISDAY on Wednesday that looking at the commercial implication of the illegal operations of these private jets would tend to eclipse the more critical implications, which include security and safety.

The operator said without insisting that these private jet operators declare their manifest and without the stringent measures recently introduced in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Policy that these jets could be used to take out and bring in anything into the country.

“When the former Governor of Plateau State jumped bail in London and came to Benin, a private jet was used to pick him to Nigeria. No one asked the pilot who was in the aircraft; he was not asked to declare his manifest. A country that has high rate of violation cannot be taken seriously in global aviation rating.”

The operator also said it has to be noted that the charges the commercial airlines pay are different from that of private jet operators and because they use many of them for commercial operations they congest the airspace, increase emissions and increase infrastructural challenge at the airports.

“These private jets without stringent check on their activities have become very good for money laundering. Stolen money is used to acquire most of these jets. Their operation distorts the passenger traffic. They use them to carry the amount of money that they cannot declare on commercial flights...all these monies that are used for bribery are carried in these private jets so there is need that they declare their manifests,” the operator said.

The operator also noted that blue chip companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, Cadbury and others that operate in this country do not have private jets, and wondered why Nigerians, many of whom cannot explain how they got their money, acquire private jets, insisting that the recent measures introduced by the Federal Government, if enforced, would help to check the violations by these private jet operators.
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