Flight operations to some domestic destinations may be paralysed as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said it would withdraw services from yesterday midnight from the Kebbi Airport, Bebi Airstrip, Cross River and Gombe States airports over debts.
FAAN provides compulsory services like security, fire cover, marshalling and rescue operations in all the airports in the country as recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Without these services, the airports would be immediately shut down and this would adversely affect air travel in the yuletide season when there is huge passenger movement as airlines record the highest schedule flights.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, who confirmed the withdrawal of services by the agency, said Gombe, Kebbi airports and Bebi airstrip owed FAAN a total of N808, 610, 160.
Yakubu said Gombe airport owes FAAN N607,289,972; Kebbi owes N124,547,240, while Bebi airstrip owes the agency N76,772,948.
A statement issued by the agency said: “Following a final notice of payment issued to the above airports over a month ago, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria hereby notifies airlines, passengers and the public that effective from midnight of December 9, 2018, we are constrained to withdraw the services of our security officers and airport fire and rescue services from Gombe, Kebbi and Bebi airports.
“This action has become imperative as the management of Gombe airport is indebted to the Authority to the tune of N607,289,972, while Kebbi and Bebi airports are indebted to the tune of N124,547,240 and N76,772,948 respectively, without any concerted effort to pay up the debts. The FAAN has issued a Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) to this effect in order to give operators into the airports the opportunity to review their logistics plan.”