THE Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has dragged five airlines operating in Zambia to the Lusaka High Court demanding payment of outstanding passenger safety charges amounting to over US $600,000.
The Civil Aviation Authority is demanding payment of US $179,175 from the South African Airways Soc Limited, trading as South African Airways; US $47,120 from Proflight Commuter Services Limited, trading as Proflight Zambia; US $75,652.15 from Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, trading as Ethiopian Airlines; US $265,587.81 from Mahogany Air Limited, trading as Mahogany Air; and US $66,700 from Kenya Airways Plc, trading as Kenya Airways.
The Authority, which has sued the five airlines separately, also wants damages, interest, costs and any other reliefs the Court may deem fit.
In the separate statements of claim against the defendants, the Aviation Authority stated that it was mandated by law to collect passenger safety charges per air ticket sold of US $10 per passenger international ticket sold and US $5 per passenger domestic ticket sold.
It stated that this was pursuant to Statutory Instrument No. 71, the Civil Aviation Authority (fees) Regulations, 2016.
The Authority explained that the passenger safety charge was from December 1, 2016, collected from the aircraft passengers by the defendants on behalf of it when the defendants sell passenger tickets and remit the money collected to it.
It further stated that the total amount payable by the defendants to it as passenger safety charges was ascertainable from the number of passengers recorded in the Zambia National Airports passenger manifest for a given period.
In the case of South African Airways, the Civil Aviation Authority stated that from December 1, 2016, to April 30, 2017, SAA collected the passenger safety charge from passengers on behalf of it amounting to US $179,175.
“Notwithstanding collection of the said US $179,175, from passengers by the defendant (South African Airways) in the said period between December 1, 2016, to April 30, 2017, the defendant has not remitted the said sum to the plaintiff to-date,” read the claim.
It stated that on January 11, 2021, it made a demand to South African Airways to remit the said money for passenger safety charge within 14 days from the date of demand, but the defendant had failed or neglected to do so.
The Civil Aviation Authority stated that as the result, the defendant was liable to pay it the sum of US $179,175, plus interest.
In the case of Ethiopian Airlines, the Civil Aviation Authority stated that from December 1, 2016, to April 30, 2017, Ethiopian collected passenger safety charges from passengers on behalf of it amounting to US $75,652.15, but equally has not remitted the money to the Authority to-date.
It stated that Ethiopian carrier failed or neglected to liquidate the whole amount of US $75,652.15 despite being repeatedly reminded to do so and that the defendant was liable to pay it the said sum, plus interest.
With Proflight, the CAA stated that from December 1, 2016, to April 30, 2017, the airline collected passenger safety charges from passengers on behalf of it amounting to US $47,120.
It, however, stated that Proflight had not remitted the funds to it to-date despite it making a demand for the defendant to remit the money within 14 days from the date of demand.
In relation to Mahogany Air Limited, the Authority stated that from December 1, 2016, to April 30, 2017, Mahogany collected passenger safety charge from passengers on behalf of it amounting to US $265,587.81, but had not remitted the said sum to it to-date.
The Civil Aviation Authority also wants the Court to order Kenya Airways to pay it US $66,700, being outstanding passenger safety charge due to it, plus interest.