Helicopter Operators Protest Fresh $300 Landing Fee Imposed By FG

Helicopter operators in Nigeria have threatened shutdown their operations over the recent introduction of a compulsory $300 landing fee recently as announced by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.

The minister had recently announced that all helicopter operators in Nigeria must pay $300 landing fees at all Nigerian aerodromes, helipads, airstrips, floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units, floating storage and offloading (FSO) units and other oil platforms.

The government had employed a consultant, NAEBI Dynamic Concept Limited to collect the fees on its behalf across the country.

Announcing the new tax regime, Keyamo had said that, “It is imperative that all operators and stakeholders fully comply with this mandate, by granting total access to Messrs NAEBI Dynamic Concept Limited for the collection of the levy, effective immediately, noncompliance with this directive will constitute a breach of this mandate and will be met with appropriate sanction.”

However, reacting to the directive, operators in the Nigerian aviation sector said that the new tax is unnecessary and will greatly impede smooth operations of their businesses. They noted that they are already paying standard charges to various federal government agencies including, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

An operator who spoke to the media stated that, “We need to clarify that it is not true that helicopters are not regulated. We pay the statutory charges to the NCAA, NAMA (Nigeria Airspace Management Agency) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

“NAMA is aware of your flight plan even before you start your engine. At least when you take off from an airport to any facility, be it helipad, or open field, NAMA is aware of the flight and you are in constant communication with the ATC (Air traffic controller). So you now tell me why the need for another $300 per flight? Is that the way to raise revenue?”

Analyst in the sector believe that the new directive may affect Nigeria’s oil output negatives as the oil and gas sector constitute the bulk operators of helicopters in Nigeria and since the new directive may lead to a strike action, the government should really rethink the new policy.

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