…as passengers allege neglect by airline
Angry, placard carrying unionists from every aviation union in the industry has since 6.30am this morning grounded the operations of Nigeria’s largest carrier, Arik Air over what they described as a humongous debt of N12.5billion.
The unions’ shutdown the airlines operations this morning after year’s long negotiations have been crippled with them stating that the airline is feigning ignorant to its debt while refusing to pay.
Passengers are already feeling the impact of this trade dispute as hundreds of passengers are seen at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) Arik’s operational terminal in Lagos looking confused as to what to do, some have even started asking for refunds and others in the process of looking for alternate arrangement.
A passenger who actually drew the attention of Nigerianflightdeck to the picketing said,” I have a meeting in Abuja. Been here since six for my flight and I am still here. I am devastated I don’t know what next to do and even my boss thinks I am back in Abuja. This is not about refund oh, because I will sue if I lose my job abi Arik go hire me? This one they are owing!”
Another passenger who identified himself as Michael said,“ the Arik people are not even here to give us any official word on what to do, some people who have not committed have gone to other airlines and should be well on their way but this airline just abandoned us here apart from their hiding staff here and there no one has come to say what the way forward for us is.@
The unionist who have barricaded Arik working areas are waving placards like: Arik Pay Your 12.4bn Debt! FAAN can no longer pay salaries, pension, staff claims due to your debt!! Debtors pay all you owe FAAN now!!! Arik if you can’t pay don’t fly!!! Arik pay your debt 12.4bn is too much
General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Comrade Olayinka Abioye in his statement made said that, ’We are engaged in picketing exercise against Arik Air over its indebtedness to FAAN in the sum of N12.5b”
Another unionist who spoke said that the unions were willing to keep the revenue drive up till something gives.
Meanwhile in a bid to maintain balance, Nigerianflightdeck tried to reach Arik Air over what happens to its teeming passengers but the private and official numbers to the spokesman of the airline were unavailable.
This report is still unfolding and as it does, Nigerianflightdeck will give you the details.