The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reaffirmed the sanctity of the statistical data on the aviation industry it recently released to the public.

Reacting to some critics in a statement on Sunday, the Authority said the figures were “verifiable and no amount of push and shove can cast aspersion on its figures,” and that it followed a due process and system of generating and gathering data in line with best practices and international standards.

The NCAA called on the general public and stakeholders in the industry to resist all attempts by some critics to create confusion and cast doubts on the figures. “This is clearly a result of crass ignorance and the purveyors being too clever by half,” said the statement.

Quoting the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, Part 18.12.5, which stipulates the process of generating data the NCAA stated: “All domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria shall forward to the Authority through an electronic platform provided by the Authority, all relevant documents such as flown coupons, passenger or cargo manifests, air waybills, load sheets, clients’ service invoices and other documents necessary for accurate billing within forty-eight (48) hours after each flight.”

It stated that as part of the billing requirements, it collects billable data from airlines, photocopy of flown coupons and Post Departure Manifest (PDM) of international flight operations. And all these are International Air Transport Association (IATA) documents which NCAA cannot influence.

The NCAA clarified: “The Flown Coupons contain specific information required by IATA before billings are done and issued. These are Ticket Number, Name of Passenger, Ticket Sales Charge (NG) etc. It is noteworthy that the prerequisite NCAA 5% TSC paid by passengers is indicated on the ticket. These data are warehoused by NCAA and can be verified.

“The domestic billing process requires the airline to submit to the Authority its Passenger Departure Manifest (PDM) immediately after every flight departure. It is from the filed fares that 5% TSC is calculated. The Automated Integrated System, therefore, ensures authenticity between NCAA server and airlines.

“Similarly, the process of billing 5% Cargo Sales Charge (CSC) requires the airline to submit Airway bill in accordance to the Nig.CARs.The weight and rate stated on the Airway bill are used in the calculation of the CSC.

“However, it is pertinent to state that the statistics available for 5% CSC is not the same as the harmonised figures. Cargo data captures the total weight of the cargo (import and export) while NCAA chargeable weight is on export cargo only.

“Please note that foreign airlines with Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) do not pay a royalty on cargo airlift, though the cargo weights are captured but not billable. Furthermore, the Authority authenticates the automated data output with the hard copy data submitted by the airlines. This serves as verification and determination of the actually flown passengers.

“The following categories are non-revenue passengers and are therefore exempted from 5% TSC calculation. These are Diplomats, Infants less than 2(two) years. Those whose journeys do not originate from Nigeria (ticket sold offshore).

“In ticket sales, there are promotional, discounted, staff and low season’s fares. It is the aggregate of these that mischief makers sum up and begin to tout figures. Airline fares are not constant and they are dissimilar across routes and continental distances”, the NCAA added.

The agency stated further that it was absolutely impossible for any airline to remit 5% TSC on passengers not flown. And that the airlines carry out a scrutiny of NCAA billing using their flown coupons before remittances of sales charge to NCAA.

On international flights, it stated that IATA provided support via Billing Settlement Plan (BSP) through its Clearing House, verification and direct collection of 5% TSC. And all the above processes attest to the sanctity of its figures.