Supreme Court affirms the Court of Appeal decision upholding Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s (NAMA) power to levy ‘domestic en-route charges’ on Airline Operators.
The Supreme Court of Nigeria unanimously dismissed an appeal lodged against the judgment of the Court of Appeal Lagos, wherein the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency’s (NAMA) power to levy ‘domestic en-route charges’ in addition to ticket-sales charges was affirmed. The Registered Trustees of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (the Appellant) commenced an action at the Federal High Court against NAMA in 2002 seeking the interpretation of Section 7(1) (r) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (Establishment e.t.c) Act Cap 90 LFN 2004 (‘the Act’) as to whether NAMA is entitled to impose domestic en-route charges on airline operators. The trial Court gave judgment in favour of the Appellant holding inter alia that NAMA had no statutory power to levy domestic en-route charges on Airline Operators. This decision was set aside upon an appeal by NAMA at the Court of Appeal, Lagos which held that NAMA is endowed with the powers to charge for en-route local facility charge. The foregoing decision prompted the Appellant to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal holding inter alia ‘that if the intention of the law maker is that ‘en-route local facility charges’ should not be levied and collected by the Respondent (NAMA), provision would not have been made for its lodgement in a fund created under Section 11 of the Act wherein 30% ticket sales charges which the Appellant conceded Respondent has the power to collect, are also paid into’.
Our firm acted as Counsel to NAMA both at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The case is reported as Registered Trustees of Airline Operators of Nigeria v Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (2014) 8 NWLR (Pt. 1408) 1 (SC).