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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Passengers stranded for over 7hrs as Aviation workers shutdown airports nationwide

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Striking Aviation workers had shutdown the nation’s airports Monday, leaving thousands of early morning travellers stranded for over seven hours.

The Nation Newspaper reports that the worst hit passengers were those that were to board flights at the domestic wings of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA),  Ikeja, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (NAIA)  Port Harcourt, Kano, Kaduna, Benin, Uyo, Enugu and Owerri.

Also affected were airlines, car hire / limousine operators, eateries, banks, bureau de change, business centre operators as well as  aviation catering suppliers  and  others in  the flight service value chain. Experts say they lost close to N10bn.

Aviation unions had last week announced a two-day  warning strike   to press home their  demand for  the immediate release of the reviewed Condition of Service of their members,  implementation of the minimum wage consequential adjustments and arrears for the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) since 2019,

They also agitating for stoppage of the planned demolition  of aviation’s agency buildings in Lagos by the Ministry  of Aviation for an airport city project called aerotropolis.

The unions involved in the  strike  are the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN),   the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP),  the  National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees.

Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, who appealed to the unions to end  the strike, however   warned that the Federal Government would not tolerate a breakdown of law and order at the airports.

While the strike lasted, the Federal Airports Management Authority(FAAN) advised air travellers and stakeholders to make contingency plans to avoid missing their flights and appointments.

In Lagos where flights operated at the international wing of the MMIA unhindered, domestic flights were majorly disrupted by striking union workers.

Passengers who arrived the terminals before 6am were however able to fly, but those who came after were not so lucky as  the aviation union members took over major road leading to  the airport. They   barricaded the   roads   with their vehicles.

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