The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has hinted on the review of navigation charges paid by airlines operating in the country’s airspace.

Daily Trust reports that airlines have cried out over increasing charges by service providers even as the operators and the ground-handling companies are still in a fix over the proposed upward review of ground-handling charges.

Managing Director of NAMA, Engr Farouk Umar, however insisted on the review to match the current economic reality, saying navigation charge has been N11,000 since 2008 when a one-way ticket was N16,000.

In an interview at the weekend, Umar said, “They (airlines) have been reviewing the air ticket and today, the fare is N150,000 per flight, and we are still charging N11,000. I think it is unfair and any time you draw their attention to it, they do not want us to review it.

“We are a cost recovery agency and we are making huge investments to make sure that safety is not compromised. It is high time the airlines accepted the reality. We are going to review our navigational charges to match the current economic situation.

“That is where we are. We have written to the ministry and when it is time to do that, we will call for a stakeholders’ meeting so that we let them know and give them time to prepare and adjust to the new charges.”

Speaking further, the MD disclosed that the replacement of old navigational aids is 80% completed.

“If you go to Navaids, we are also having obsolete facilities. For an average electronic system, the lifespan is about ten years. Most of these electronics have been working for the past 15-20 years.

“You will expect the performance to be below the standard. We are replacing them; we have commenced replacement of all these facilities. If not for funding, we would have finished replacing all of them. But for now, we have done almost 80% but the contractors are still working,” he said.

He commended the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, for getting the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve N40bn for NAMA to improve safety critical facilities for seamless navigation and communication in the airspace.

He stated as soon as the money is released, “we will be able to tackle safety critical challenges that are before us as far as communication is concerned.”