The National Union of Air Transport Employees, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers have threatened to shut down Arik Air’s operations nationwide from today (Thursday).
According to the unions, except an agreement is reached with the management of the airline, its operations will be grounded for failing to reinstate sacked union leaders, among other issues.
The unions had in December 2016 shut down the airline’s operations for a day before the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
The Secretary General, NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye, told journalists on Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos that the new management of the airline was intolerant of unionism.
Arik was recently taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria over huge debts owed by the airline.
Abioye alleged that the new management recently warned the workers, through a circular, not to join the unions in the industry and had also refused to address all the pending issues concerning its workers.
The issues, he said, included a review of the conditions of service, remittance of necessary union deductions and the reinstatement of sacked union leaders.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has cleared certified helicopter operators to commence services in and out of Abuja.
The NCAA said in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, that the operators had complained that despite the lifting of an earlier ban by the National Security Adviser on helicopter operations between Kaduna and Abuja, they were not issued letters to commence operations.
“A letter has since been dispatched to all the concerned operators,” the NCAA said.
The NSA, Babagana Munguno, had placed a ban on helicopter operations into Abuja, stating that air travellers would be required to travel by road to Abuja from the Kaduna International Airport, and directed the regulatory agencies not to allow commercial helicopters to use the Abuja airspace.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Haidi Sirika, however, announced a few days later that the ban had been lifted.
The NCAA stated, “The restriction has been rescinded and all operators are hereby enjoined to embark on their regular operations as approved.
“All operators should therefore carry out their operations in line with standard and recommended practices.”