The Nigerian federal government has declared its pledge to bail out the local aviation sector with a sum of 27 billion naira as part of measures to restart air travel and keep airports safer, the government said.
The sum, already proposed to some of the operators, will besides supporting the airlines, also fast-track the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier.
The federal government in the month of march restricted local and International commercial flight services to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdown crippled the aviation sector. Industry estimates showed that the sector lost about 180 billion naira, with airlines being worst hit. Over 5000 registered travel agencies furloughed their entire staff, while airlines retained only 20 percent of workers at slashed salary.
A breakdown of the project elements under the 27 billion naira cushion include payroll grant support to airlines, handlers, caterers and related services; provision of single-digit soft loans with long term repayment plan; and deferred payment of taxes and filing dates.
The government has to ensure the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from airlines´ tickets as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC); provision of COVID-19 tests for all passengers and crew; waiver of airport rent fees to airport operators for the duration of the lockdown plus one month; and beginning of processes for the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier. The work plan has a 1 year duration.