The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has suspended the planned disruption of services in Gombe, Kebbi and Bebi airports over a combined debt of N808.6m.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, said the management of Gombe Airport owed FAAN N607, 289,972, while Kebbi and Bebi – a private airstrip in Calabar – owed N124,547,240 and N76,772,948 respectively.

Ps cording to her, the management of the airports had agreed to a negotiation following a threat by FAAN to withdraw its services.

“After the negotiation, they will come up with a payment plan after which a decision will be reached,” she said.

According to Yakubu, the planned disruption of activities at the airport through the withdrawal of FAAN’s fire service and security became imperative as the management of the airports did not make any efforts to pay up the debts despite the notices given to them.

FAAN had in a ‘Notice to Airmen’, on Saturday, said it would withdraw security and fire service from the airports over the debt, with effect from midnight of Sunday December 9, 2018.

She said the three airports would be the first set to be affected, adding that decision would be taken on other debtors.

Following the notice on Saturday, Arik Air had said it would be suspending flight services to Warri and Gombe airports, while its Port Harcourt flights out of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Lagos, would operate from the General Aviation Terminal.

Arik Air’s Public Relations and Communications Manager, Adebanji Ola, however said on Monday, that flights to Osubi Airport, Warri and Gombe Airport would begin to operate normally with immediate effect while all Port Harcourt bound flights had been moved back to MMA2.

Meanwhile, the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operators of MMA2, has said the terminal would remain open, adding that it was not indebted to FAAN

The BASL in a statement said, “FAAN had threatened to withdraw its personnel from MMA2 due to alleged indebtedness to the tune of N1.9bn. In a letter dated 30 October 2018 to BASL pertaining to outstanding personnel costs for FAAN staff deployed to MMA2, demanding Bi-Courtney to pay for the provision of the aviation security, rescue and fire-fighting services as invoiced by FAAN among other charges or face withdrawing its personnel.

This was formally responded to in a letter addressed to FAAN reiterating BASL’s stance on the demands for payments of purported outstanding liabilities.”

The BASL stated that in the letter, it had told FAAN that whatever liability it had to the agency or any Federal Government agency should be deducted from the judgment credit of N132.5bn due to the non-implementation of the concession agreement by the appropriate authorities.

“BASL is prepared and continues to consistently ensure safety, security and smooth operations at MMA2, without entertaining compromise on aviation best practices,” the firm said in a statement.