Available air transport for passengers continue to shrink, with Azman Air joining Dana Air and Aero Contractors to suspend flight operation in Nigeria.
Having allegedly failed to meet the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) renewal process, Azman Air cancelled flight operation, reportedly informing workers to stay back at their various home.
Azman Air suspending its flight operation comes after the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, said it wouldn’t renew the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) of airlines over debt.
The government agency also intends to withhold the Air Transport License (ATL) of domestic airlines if the N42 billion and $7.8 million debt owed to the Nigerian government is not paid.
This further reduces the number of domestic flights within the Nigerian airspace to cater to the about 13.01 million domestic air passengers.
Airlines in Nigeria have been struggling with high cost of operation, as rising dollar value and scarcity of the American currency in Nigeria’s official foreign exchange market affects maintenance cost, coupled with hike in aviation jet.
When Aero Contractors suspended its passenger flight operation, it stated that, “Due to the impact of challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger service operations with effect from Wednesday, July 20, 2022.”
Aero added that, “The decision was carefully considered and taken due to the fact that most of our aircrafts are currently undergoing maintenance resulting in our inability to offer a seamless and efficient service to our esteemed customers.”
Aside from affecting the passengers, suspension of operation by Azman Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractor will also reduce the revenue President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration will generate from the aviation sector through income taxes.
Already, the government is having revenue issue as it struggles to curb oil vandalism and theft, which has prevented the country from meeting its monthly OPEC quota, and also led to Angola and Libya overtaking Nigeria on the list of the biggest crude oil production countries in Africa.
This has prevented the government from raising revenue in the oil industry, and led Buhari to request approval from the legislature to borrow N9.32 trillion to finance the 2023 budget which has a deficit of N12.43 trillion.