Airlines, others await N5bn bailout 2 months after | Dailytrust

Airlines, others await N5bn bailout 2 months after

Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation
Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation

Almost two months after the federal government approved a N5 billion bailout for the aviation sector, operators are worried over the delay in its release, even as many airlines and allied businesses are on the brink of collapse.

The government had initiated the palliative to help the industry recover from the headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On November 2, 2020, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed that N5bn has been approved for the industry.

Airlines are to get N4bn while N1bn was for allied service providers like ground handling companies, caterers, among others.

Some operators, on Wednesday, confirmed that although the government promised to pay the money before the end of December, they were yet to be paid.

“We were told it should have been paid by now but Dana Air has not seen anything so far,” said Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Dana Air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo.

Spokesperson for Azman Air, Mr Nura Aliyu stated that the airline was yet to also get the palliative but was hopeful that it would be disbursed soon.

“All I know is that it is still in the process. Hopefully before January, it would be disbursed,” he said.

The ground handling operators said they are yet to access the fund.

The Managing Director of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO), Mr Basil Agboarumi said his firm hasn’t accessed the palliative.

Mr Ikechi Uko, an aviation stakeholder said the delay in the disbursement could be dangerous.

“Why promise and then not to deliver? Delay is dangerous. The Airlines need support and they need it now,” he said.

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