The Nigerian Union of Pensioners (NUP), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) branch, has called for the implementation of a new passenger service charge being proposed by FAAN to meet the challenges of maintaining airports across the country.
Last year, FAAN proposed a hike in passenger service charge for travellers on domestic and international flights.
Though the authority did not state the new charge, passengers pay N1,000 for domestic flights and passengers on international flights pay $50.
In an interview in Lagos at the weekend, Comrades Rasaq Ope and Emeka Njoku, chairman and secretary, called on the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to, as a matter of urgency, direct the implementation of the new passenger service charge to meet up with economic realities.
“We are aware of how much the private terminal is charging passengers and other customers and FAAN has not increased its passenger service charge in the last nine years. It is based on that, that we call for the implementation of new charges to enable them meet the growing challenges of airport maintenance.”
They urged Sirika to direct debtors of FAAN to start the settlement of debts owed the agency, adding that the minister has been too quiet on those owing FAAN, especially airlines and concessionaires.
According to them, aviation should be given proper attention, especially with the inauguration of new terminals across the country. They added that soon the revenue generated would not be able to take care of the overhead cost of the agency.
They also disclosed that billions of naira was being owed FAAN by various concessionaires, airlines among others saying that the debts were crippling the operations of the agency.
On the proposed carrying of firearms by aviation security personnel, NUP called for the creation of a special unit that would be in charge of firearms.
While calling for the training and retraining of FAAN workers to meet the trend of operations, the pensioners condemned undue interference from politicians in the running of the organisation saying that it does not allow for the growth of the organisation.
“We don’t want FAAN to collapse and the minster must act fast. We don’t need grammar because the Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika has failed in the past three years. We ought to have a new national carrier, maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities but nothing.
“We thought as a professional that by now things would have changed in the aviation sector but nothing has changed because the minister has failed. Where is Bilateral Air Services Agreement BASA fund for the past six years?’’ the association asked.
They called on the Federal Government to look into the stoppage of BASA fund and to let the Nigerians know what went wrong.