The management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, (BASL) operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two, MMA2, Lagos, has declared that the widely reported N12. 5 billion debts allegedly owed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, by Arik Air was actually supposed to be remitted into its coffers.
The terminal operator insisted that the fund was part of BASL’s legitimate revenue that FAAN continued to appropriate despite several legal pronouncements. BASL said with the continuous operation of the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, of the Lagos by FAAN, it has openly denied the company 60 per cent of its revenue, stressing that this was so even after an Arbitration Panel, a Court of Law and an Appeal Court had ruled in its favour.
A statement by the spokesman of BASL, Mr. Remi Ladigbolu, quoted the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Ms. Adebisi Awoniyi, as saying that the public, particularly relevant stakeholders should note that the country’s law recognises Bi-Courtney as the genuine owner of General Aviation Terminal, GAT at the Lagos Airport. Awoniyi insisted that FAAN was operating the terminal illegally and it amounted to a clear violation of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the industry unions and some staff of FAAN had recently withdrew services to Arik at both Lagos and Abuja Airports, alleging that the airline owed it N12.5 billion for services rendered to it like landing and parking charges, rents and fuel surcharge since inception. But, in a swift reaction, Arik Air, claimed that since it commenced flight operations in October 2006, it had paid the total sum of N18.9 billion into the coffers of the agency and challenged it to bring out evidences that would contract its claim. Awoniyi insisted that FAAN and Arik Air, were indeed fighting over monies that lawfully belongs BASL, adding that any airline still operating at GAT is actively involved in FAAN’s act of illegality.
She declared that Arik Air and FAAN never obeyed court judgements on GAT, stressing that if they did, Arik Air for instance would have conformed to the court judgment that affirmed Bi- Courtney’s ownership of the GAT, especially after the appeal filed on its behalf by Ojemaie Holdings against the judgment failed.
She accused Arik Air’s management of selective justice and hoped that the current development would serve as a wake-up call to other airlines, service providers and businesses operating at the GAT to the risk they are exposing themselves to, due to their continued recognition of FAAN as the operator of the terminal.