Following a 100% increase in apron pass fees from N150 to N500 by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, aviation fuel dealers yesterday suspended operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja (FAAN).
Passengers were stuck at the airport because of the demonstration. The Abuja Airport Manager reportedly denied access to the apron to fuel merchants when the apron passes expired, according to information obtained by The Guardian.
Due to limited access to refueling for takeoff, the majority of the aircraft that landed at the airport yesterday was unable to depart, creating congestion at the apron.
Due to this trend, numerous airlines have fallen short of their scheduled departure times. Commenting on the development, Public Affairs’ Acting General Manager, Mrs. Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, said the apron pass expired in May last year, and they were given till the end of March to pay up.
She noted that the pass renewal cost N200,000 and questioned why oil marketers continued to delay payment despite numerous requests and reminders. The FAAN spokeswoman also mentioned how many clients owed the organization money but refused to pay.
She said: “They also want funding to repair their facilities. Users berate them for failing to uphold their duties as managers of the airports when they break down.
“Their apron passes had to be renewed before they expired, but they failed to do so. Apron passes are issued for a specific amount of time, and they must be renewed within that year.
“The amount is only N200,000, so it’s not much money. Oil marketers are unable to pay N200,000. They anticipate us to fix it when our facilities malfunction.
None of these expenses are covered by the government. All of our facilities are required to be modern because we are an internal revenue-generating organization. Many of our clients are still owing us money, and we need money to run these things.
An anonymous stakeholder said: “Flights are landing but there is no fuel. I believe they are citing the fuel marketers as an example, but ground handlers are also subject to the fees. Although there has been an overall increase, Abuja is acting now.
The 4 p.m. trip from Lagos to Akure with a 100% load factor is canceled because, even if we leave on time, we would miss the sunset. 70% of the seats from Akure to Lagos were taken. Easter plans for passengers are ruined due to FAAN and fuel marketers’ stand-off.”