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Aviation minister Keyamo suspends controversial $300 helicopter landing fee

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has temporarily suspended the contentious $300 helicopter landing fee outsourced to Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Limited. This decision, effective from May 30, follows strong opposition from the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), who argued that the fee would be detrimental to helicopter operators and the Nigerian economy at large.

Opposition from Airline Operators of Nigeria

The suspension was announced in a statement by the Ministry’s Spokesman, Odutayo Oluseyi. Keyamo highlighted that further actions will be taken after a review committee completes its assessment.

The statement read, “Following a meeting with the AON executive on the issue of helicopter landing levies at aerodromes, helipads, airstrips, etc., Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has temporarily suspended the enforcement granted to Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd by the Federal Government to collect such levies.”

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Formation of a Review Committee

Keyamo’s decision comes amid significant pushback from industry stakeholders. In response, he has established a review committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, relevant agencies, the AON, International Oil Companies (IOCs), and Messers NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd. This committee is tasked with examining the concerns raised and submitting a report by the end of June 2024.

Stakeholders’ Concerns and Minister’s Justification

The $300 landing fee, which NAEBI Dynamic Concept Ltd was exclusively contracted to collect, has faced criticism regarding its appropriateness and economic impact. Keyamo previously defended the fee, asserting that it aligns with international best practices and serves as a cost-recovery measure intended to enhance the quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria.

Keyamo emphasised that similar levies are standard in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. “Helicopter landing levies are commonplace worldwide, so why should Nigeria be an exception?” he questioned.

Future Steps and Industry Impact

The suspension of the landing fee marks a significant moment for Nigeria’s aviation industry, reflecting the government’s responsiveness to stakeholder feedback. The outcome of the review committee’s findings will likely shape the future of helicopter operations and regulatory measures in the country.

Implications for the Aviation Sector

This temporary suspension and the subsequent review are crucial for ensuring that any implemented policies balance regulatory needs with the economic realities faced by operators. The aviation sector will be closely watching the committee’s recommendations, which are expected to provide a way forward that addresses the concerns of all parties involved.

Festus Keyamo’s move to suspend the $300 helicopter landing fee demonstrates a willingness to engage with industry stakeholders and reconsider policies that may adversely affect the sector. The forthcoming report from the review committee will be pivotal in determining the future direction of helicopter landing fees in Nigeria.

 

Samuel Bolaji

Samuel Bolaji holds a Master of Letters in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is an experienced researcher, multimedia journalist, writer, and Editor. He is currently the Editor of Arbiterz.

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