AFTER much yearning and clamour, the Federal Government of Nigeria’s N4bn COVID-19 palliatives to the airline subset of the aviation industry has arrived but not without intrigues as it seems some airlines may have received the said bailout funds while others are yet to get, a situation, further deepening the crack among the airlines.
Some airlines with valid Air Operators Certificate (AOC) are alleging that they have been sidestepped in the disbursement of the funds even after meticulously following the process and submitting their request for the funds and are agitated about the unorthodox 70-30 sharing formula which has popped up without recourse to them.
Recall that during the height of the COVID-19 when airlines were forced to stop all operations, the Federal government agreed on palliatives to cushion the effects of the industry being one of the worse hit but provisos were made that for airlines to access such palliatives they needed to have a functional AOC.
However, functioning operators are of the opinion that the process has been hijacked as information making rounds is that leadership of the AON, without recourse to their membership somehow arrived at 70-30 percent ratio which is causing the tear to expand.
An operator who explained things to Nigerianflightdeck under the condition of anonymity said that the AON Board of Trustees (BOT) and the executive numbering 10 had disagreed some days back over the sharing of N3 billion to some scheduled operators out of the N4 billion released.
For now, Nigerianflightdeck can confirm that most charter operators including who have valid AOC are yet to get anything from the funds and seem to be amiss as to what is actually happening.
Director of Press, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu who spoke to Nigerianflightdeck on the matter explained the Ministry’s position stating that the bailout has been disbursed and it will go to airlines with functioning AOCs but is not aware of the finer details.
He said in a telephone conversation,” What I can confirm at this time is that it was released to individual airlines, the consideration is for individual airlines and airlines that have AOC. On whether charters were included he said,” I can’t confirm that but charter operators are also airlines let me confirm.”
Speaking to Nigerianflightdeck, a source said the process could have been handled more professionally to avoid the controversies it is generating among airlines as a list of qualified candidates should have been put out by the Ministry in charge so everyone knows who is qualified instead of shrouding the process in secrecy and creating doubt.