- Air Peace and other airlines’ operations were disrupted on Tuesday morning by officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress.
- No fewer than 110 Air Peace flights were affected and the airline has estimated a loss of at least N400 million.
- The unions blocked the entrance to the MMA2 and GAT in Lagos, disrupted flying services at Abuja Airport and Owerri Airport, and allegedly physically assaulted officials of Air Peace and the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
Operations of Air Peace and other airlines were on Tuesday morning disrupted by some officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), over the alleged truncation of its May Day celebration by Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.
Air Peace said no fewer than 110 of its flights would be affected by the NLC’s action, even as nothing less than N400 million would be lost.
Meanwhile, officials of the organised trade unions also disrupted activities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) and the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Lagos, stopping airlines from flying to the Owerri Airport and some other aerodromes across the country.
Nairametrics observed that the unions blocked the entrance to the MMA2 and GAT, thereby preventing air travelers from gaining entrance into the two terminals.
Some of the union members were seen destroying counters of Air Peace at GAT, while other airlines were also prevented from carrying out their activities at the MMA2 terminal.
A few of them, also physically assaulted officials of Air Peace and the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
Apart from the Lagos Airport, our correspondent also learnt that the union members also disrupted flying services at Abuja Airport and Owerri Airport.
What Air Peace said
In a statement seen by Nairametrics, Air Peace said it feared that its safe operations could no more be guaranteed as a result of the attack on its staff and facilities.
The airline decried that officials of NLC and TUC officials had stormed the Lagos airport and taken over its counters, disrupting all the operations because of an alleged misunderstanding they had with Uzodinma.
The statement hinted that the organised labours had on Tuesday written to it not to operate flights into Owerri on Wednesday, following the purported disruption of its May Day activities by the governor a few days ago.
The airline insisted that it had no affiliation with the Imo State Government or Governor Uzodinma and wondered how its operations would be disrupted by the unions.
The statement read in part:
- “Our duty and commitment are to the Nigerian flying public that has paid us. We have a contract with them to deliver. This morning, they carried out a selective attack on Air Peace, took over our counters and disrupted our operations.
- “While they were doing this, another Nigerian airline was allowed to operate into and out of Owerri. They took over our counters in Owerri, Abuja and Lagos, disrupting over 110 flights of Air Peace.
- “This particular illegal action of NLC and TUC will lead to over N400 million loss to the airline. It will equally lead to massive disruptions and cancellations of our flights across the country today, and that will snowball into the coming days, too.”
Alleged NLC attack
The airline pointed out that it was not the first time the NLC or unions would be attacking its operations for issues that had no bearing on it.
The statement recalled that the labour recently attacked its operations of the protest on minimum wage with the Federal Government.
It said that while the minimum wage of the Federal Government was N18,000 then, its own minimum wage was N50,000.
The airline also expressed the regret that the security agencies watched on while its operations were being disrupted by the unions.
The airline challenged the organised labour to directly address their issues with the State Government, rather than truncating its services to the airport and any other airports across the country.
- “Why are they not stopping road transport workers who are going to Imo State?
- “Aviation borders on national security and we have been made a laughing stock in the world. Who is going to pay Air Peace over N400 million lost today and in the coming days?” The airline queried.
The airline alerted the Nigerian flying public that due to the crisis, its flights would be disrupted today and in the coming days, saying that some of the flights would be cancelled or delayed.
- “Any flight we fail to operate today due to this illegal occupation of our operations will lead to cancellations in most sunset airports. Who is going to take responsibility for this? We feel highly unprotected,” the airline said.
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