- Carpets Unions, denies N2b indebtedness to agency
Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) faulted claims by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) that it is indebted to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to the tune of N2b.
The firm stated that FAAN’s violation of an agreement that led to the construction of the N35b airport terminal and decision not to cede the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) to it has deprived BASL of over 50 per cent of its revenue.
He carpeted the unions for what he described as misinformation of the public and carriage of agenda that is only known to the labour groups.
At a media briefing on Tuesday, the unions stated that Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the Murtala Mohammed Airport Two (MMA2), was owing FAAN the sum of
The firm which is the operator of the multi-billion Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) maintained it is not indebted to the agency, noting that on the contrary, it is FAAN and the Federal Government that are indebted to Bi-Courtney to an amount now in excess of
He noted that N132billion of this sum was confirmed by a court of competent jurisdiction in 2012 in the case of Bi-Courtney Ltd vs. AG Federation (FHC/ABJ/CS/50/2009).
Spokesman for BASL, Steve Omolale Contrary to the clear provisions of the concession agreement, the coordinating committee set up by the Attorney-General of the Federation and the decision of the court of law, FAAN continues to operate the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), which he said belongs to Bi-Courtney, thus depriving BASL of over 50 per cent of its revenue.
He described this as a very poor advertisement for any nation seeking to attract private capital for development.
The unions, he reiterated are aware of this position but have chosen to fabricate irresponsible falsehoods in a bid to discredit BASL and mislead the public.
His words, “Fortunately, the public is more discerning. It is common knowledge that the aforementioned unions (NUATE, ATSSAN and NUP) actually challenged the concession agreement in court and lost the case in Appeal No. CA/A/141/M/2009.
“It appears that the unions are seeking to undermine the decision of a Federal Court. There is no better time to remind the unions that Nigeria is a country of laws and all citizens are bound by the laws of the country”.
“We at MMA2 are very proud that we run the most efficient airport terminal in Nigeria. We have demonstrated clearly that, if given the opportunity, a Nigerian company is capable of delivering exceptional services, particularly in the provision of critical infrastructure”.
He disclosed that given that they operate on five per cent of the revenue of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, their achievements over the years are deserving of commendation from all quarters.
Chairman, BASL, Dr. Wale Babalaking had at a forum recently maintained that his firm does not owe FAAN a dime.
According to Babalakin, the agreement signed with government stated that all domestic operations from Lagos must emanate from the MMA, an agreement that Arik Air flouted leading to some arbitration and court cases that ended up in BASL’s favour.
While seeking the assistance of all and sundry for the payment of the N200b owed to Bi-Courtney Aviation Services by the Federal Government of Nigeria he said, ”As far back as 2012, the Federal High Court awarded damages of N132b to Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited. Six appeals against the judgment in the Court of Appeal have been dismissed.
“Even the appeal to the Supreme Court by Arik Airlines through Ojemaie holdings was also dismissed. No nation can truly achieve its potential if it treats its dynamic citizens this way.”
He said,” MMA2 was built on the premise that all domestic flights from Lagos state must be operated from MMA2 and to ensure compliance government closed down the GAT completely. One day we woke up to discover that Arik has started flying from the GAT in defiance to the agreement. And then we went for arbitration.”