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Unions ground industry over N25b Arik debt, others

Following overbearing debt by certain airlines in the country to government agencies and parastatals, unions in the industry Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ATSSSAN and National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE barricaded the gates leading to the premises of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN.

Arik Air aircraft taxiing on the runway

For almost three hours activities in the aviation sector were grounded following this protest by two aviation unions over debts singling out Nigeria’s largest operator Arik Air as the major culprit.
Addressing the gathering, the general secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said Arik airline alone owed FAAN, N25b and gave all debtors to all agencies one week to settle their debts.
Abioye said debts owed the agencies was the reason why promotion can not be effected as there was no money to pay for various allowances.
He urged workers of various agencies to brace themselves for battle against debtor airlines.
Also addressing the workers, the president of A TSSSAN Comrade Benjamin Okewu  said the debt profile by Arik Air was becoming too alarming.
Okewu said bleak future awaited all debtor airlines as it will never be business as usual.
He recalled how meavis, a concessionaire was sent packing from the airport and same will be extended to debtor concessionaire.
“If we want to achieve, let all prepare for war. We must act and consolidate our decision to do the right thing ”
He noted that Arik since its inception had never had any of its aircraft grounded with all its aircraft well maintained and serviceable and wondered why they could not pay debts owed agencies.

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