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Nigeria: Air passengers to pay N1,000 service charge

Source: Thisdayonline.com


Passengers travelling through the new domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMA2), Lagos with some airlines will now pay N1,000 service charge directly to the terminal operator before accessing the departure lounge.

The management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), which built and is operating the domestic facility took the decision to collect the charge directly from passengers as some of the airlines had failed to remit such monies after collecting them from the passengers on behalf of the company.

THISDAY learnt that Chanchangi Airlines owes BASL about N400 million as accruals of such charges and had not paid. The airline however admitted that though it owed the operators, it was servicing the debt.

Similar huge debts were also believed to have been owed by IRS Airlines and others that operate from the facility, a situation neccesitating passengers who travel with the aforementioned airlines to pay the charge now at the BASL collection point before the screening area.

Passengers of the few airlines that pay regularly to Bi-Courtney , however, would not be expected to pay before accessing the departure lounge.

But spokesman of IRS Airlines, Solomon Ibharunefe, told THISDAY that it is true that the airline is indebted to the terminal operators but so are other airlines, noting that the carrier has been servicing the debts.

“We pay Bi-Courtney over N1 million every week but there are backlogs of the debt and we are servicing it,” Ibharunefe said. Head of Corporate Affairs and Commnunications, BASL, Olugbenga Odugbesan, explained at the weekend, that “The passenger processing (service) charge of N1, 000 is already included in ticket prices and collected by the airlines on behalf of Bi-Courtney."

He added that "Because the airlines are not remitting this amount to Bi-Courtney, we are now forced to collect from passengers directly," stressing that "with the new collection method, we expect airlines to reduce their fares by N1,000.”

He said the passenger processing charge is used by terminal operators to maintain the facilities within the terminal.