17 December 2012

Nigeria: 'Domestic Airlines Pay Huge Taxes On Leased Aircraft'

Chief Executive Officer of Skyjet Aviation, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has disclosed that domestic airlines that operate leased aircraft with foreign registration in Nigeria pay huge taxes.

Speaking to newsmen after receiving the Airline Operators Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), last week, Shettima said that the method of taxation is another challenge facing the industry, remarking that he did not understand why his company should be considered foreign when he is investing money locally in the country.

He said that his company has invested over US$5 million in the acquisition of its facilities in Nigeria.

"We have in-flight, who are with us here today, they are one of Embraer's service facilities in London, and they are one of the biggest in Europe. They flew in with me a few days ago and they are here to see our facility because we want to partner with them on maintenance"

Shettima said that Skyjet Aviation is an airline company that renders services like charter services, maintenance and also sell aircraft.

"Right now we are doing line maintenance. We are a South African-approved line maintenance organisation. As we go now with our AOC, we'll go to the next stage and by next year we will bring in more aircraft.

"Right now we have three products we deal in. In our maintenance line we have Embraer, Fokker and Lear jet. We still do their maintenance right here. At the moment, we do about three but eventually we will go into the maintenance of quite a good number of products (aircraft types), but you have to understand that this is not something you can do overnight"

Asked about his assessment of the Nigerian aviation industry, Shettima said, "The aviation industry in Nigeria still has a lot of challenges because I have seen it. However, I believe that at some point, the airline operators and the authorities need to sit down to look at issues critically"

However, he thanked the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, saying that she is on track for what she is doing in the industry, adding that with her policies and actions she would take the sector to its desirable end.

"Every time government says it wants to attract foreign investors, but there are lots of people in-house who are willing to invest in the country. All they need is the support and enabling environment to do it and I believe that before foreign investors can come and invest here, you need to show them that your own people are doing it, then they would come and would want to partner with the indigenous investors."

Shettima said the company is based in Kaduna and presently it has five aircraft, which include legacy C650, C600, Hawkker 900 sp, Hawkker 800 sp, and a Legend 45 SR.

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