Ojikutu: No, your figures are incorrect
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that the figures from earnings in the aviation industry it published recently are incontrovertible because its system and processes of generating and gathering data are in line with best practices and international standards.
It would be recalled that that a recent event held in Lagos, the agency reeled out figures of earnings with ticket sales from domestic passengers, January to December 2016, put at ₦79.4 billion and international, ₦342.9 billion, thus bringing the total to ₦422.4 billion.
During the same period in 2017, NCAA said ticket sales from the domestic and international passengers were ₦93.6 billion, ₦411.5 billion respectively thus bringing the total to ₦505.1 billion.
Despite the low January 2017 sales occasioned by the closure of Abuja runway for rehabilitation, the agency said ticket sale in 2017 was higher than 2016 by ₦82.7 billion.
Domestic and international cargo sales figure from January to December 2016 stood at ₦285,169,979.79 while cargo sales for the same period in 2017 totalled ₦400,900,439.09 showing a difference of ₦115,730,459.30 from the preceding year.
These figures have generated controversies with many a stakeholder accusing the agency of under-declaration.
A statement issued in Lagos and signed by NCAA’s spokesman, Mr. Sam Adurogboye urged stakeholders not to create confusion.
“The process of generating data is as stipulated in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015 Part 18.12.5. All domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria shall forward to the Authority through an electronic platform provided by the Authority, all relevant documents such as flown coupons, passenger or cargo manifests, air waybills, load sheets, clients’ service invoices and other documents necessary for accurate billing within forty-eight hours after each flight.
“In addition, as part of the billing requirements, the Authority collects billable data from airlines, photocopy of flown coupons and post departure manifest (PDM) of international flight operations. All these are International Air Transport Association (IATA) documents which NCAA cannot influence.
“The flown coupons contain specific information required by IATA before billings are done and issued. These are ticket number, name of passenger, ticket sales charge (TSC) etc. It is noteworthy that the prerequisite NCAA 5 per cent TSC paid by passengers is indicated on the ticket. These data are warehoused by NCAA and can be verified.
“The domestic billing process requires the airline to submit to the Authority its (PDM) immediately after every flight departure. It is from the filed fares that 5 per cent TSC is calculated. The automated integrated system therefore ensures authenticity between NCAA server and airlines.
“Similarly, the process of billing 5 per cent cargo sales charge (CSC) requires the airline to submit Airway bill in accordance to the Nig.CARs. The weight and rate stated on the Airway bill is used in the calculation of the CSC.
“However, it is pertinent to state that the statistics available for 5 per cent CSC is not the same as the harmonised figures. Cargo data captures the total weight of the cargo (import and export) while NCAA chargeable weight is on export cargo only.
“Furthermore, the Authority authenticates the automated data output with the hard copy data submitted by the airlines. This serves as verification and determination of the actual flown passengers.
“The following categories are non-revenue passengers and are therefore exempted from 5 per cent TSC calculation. These are diplomats, infants less than two years. Those whose journeys do not originate from Nigeria (ticket sold offshore).
“In ticket sales there are promotional, discounted, staff and low season’s fares. It is the aggregate of these that mischief makers sum up and begin to tout figures.
“Airline fares are not constant and they are dissimilar across routes and continental distances. It is therefore preposterous for anyone to attach the same fare to all passengers as the confusionists have done.
“It is absolutely impossible for any airline to remit 5 per cent TSC on passengers not flown. The airlines carry out a scrutiny of NCAA billing using their flown coupons before remittances of sales charge to NCAA.
“On international flights, IATA provides support via billing settlement plan (BSP) through its clearing house, verification and direct collection of 5 per cent TSC. All the above processes attest to the sanctity of our figures,” said the agency.
But aviation analyst and a member of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd) disagreed with the NCAA saying ticket sales for 2017 should not be less than N600 billion.
He said while one might agree with the NCAA that not all those who bought tickets could have used it within the reviewed periods and others could have changed their travelling plans and got their fares refunded, what is clear is that the passenger figures recorded by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are known as those who passed through the passengers access control and screening point into the aircraft.
“Therefore, the harmonised figures given by NCAA are deemed to have utilised or expended their purchased tickets.
“The approximately four million international passengers and 10 million domestic passengers are those who bought tickets and have expended their purchased tickets.
“Let us give considerations of about 10 per cent for whatever concessions the airlines and NCAA would want us to consider from about two million outbound passengers, that gives us 1.8 million passengers to consider; let us not factor the fares of the first and business class passengers but assume that all passengers pay same fare of about N350,000 per passenger; the figure you get in any of the two years cannot be less than N650 billion as earnings on the international passengers not N411 billion or N501 billion provided by NCAA for 2016 and 2017 respectively,” he said.
Ojikutu also said the if each of the five million outbound domestic passengers paid N18,000 without factoring the business class passenger fares, the earnings cannot be less but over N90 billion.
To him, the total tickets sales earnings for each of the years can therefore not be less than N740 billion and NCAA’s five per cent tickets sales charges for each of the years cannot be less than N37 billion.