“Helicopter Operators’ Resistance to Landing Levy Directive Raises Concerns”



By Milcah Tanimu

Helicopter operators in Nigeria are reportedly hesitant to comply with the Federal Government’s directive to pay landing levies through the concessionaire Messrs NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Limited, which has been granted exclusive authority for this purpose. The levies are intended to be paid to the Federal Government for the monitoring and surveillance of helicopter movements within Nigeria’s airspace.

Some operators have threatened to withdraw their services, while others are exploring legal options to thwart the government’s efforts to monitor helicopter movements. They are considering enlisting themselves under the umbrella body of indigenous carriers, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), to resist the concessionaire’s authority. Additionally, attempts have been made to initiate discussions with the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to disrupt the concession.

Industry observers caution that influential members of the AON should not allow their reputation and capacity to be tarnished by involvement in efforts to frustrate the government’s directive.

The motive behind the operators’ resistance to paying the landing levies remains unclear, especially considering that similar levies are paid in other countries. The amount charged, $300 per landing, is significantly lower than the fees charged by helicopter operators for their services.

A source familiar with the situation suggests that some operators are divided, with some complying and others seeking to sabotage the government’s initiative. There are concerns that negative media publicity orchestrated by certain influential airline owners could mislead the public about the aviation industry’s state of affairs.

The implementation of the landing levy directive is seen as beneficial for multiple reasons. It will provide additional revenue to support the aviation sector, enhance security by monitoring helicopter activity more closely, and address the issue of unidentified helicopters operating in Nigerian airspace. There have been reports of unidentified helicopters conducting air drops in remote locations, highlighting the need for tighter monitoring.

In line with efforts to maintain transparency and accountability, the government through its concessionaire intends to establish a comprehensive system to track and document all helicopter movements within the country’s airspace. This initiative aims to address concerns about helicopters operating at low altitudes to evade radar detection.

A directive issued by the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, emphasizes the importance of compliance with the landing levy mandate. Non-compliance will be met with appropriate sanctions, and the Ministry will closely monitor compliance and take swift action against any violations.


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