Several passengers of Arik Air were today stranded as the Association of Air Transport Association of Nigeria (ATTSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employers (NUATE), on Thursday grounded the airline’s scheduled flight operations from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, to other parts of the country.
Speaking to Thisday on the phone from Lagos, FAAN’s Managing Director, Mr. Saleh Dunima, said efforts were being made in Abuja with the two unions to resolve the crisis.
“Right now, Arik is discussing with the management of Abuja airport, as soon as they sort that out, they will resume flight operations,” he said.
Speaking to Thisday on the condition of anonymity, a top aviation official said that Arik Air had failed to remit the passengers service charge of N1,000, the amount which is due to FAAN runs into millions. It also owes FAAN N1.2 billion from landing and parking fees.
He explained that until Arik paid a substantial percentage of the total sum owed, it would not be allowed to commence flight operations.
Also speaking, FAAN’s spokesperson in Abuja, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, while corroborating our source, said it was the unions that did not allow Arik staff to process flight papers for passengers.
According to her, they are owing FAAN about N1 billion, and so ATTSAN and NUATE decided to come in.
“The two unions are doing this without even informing FAAN management. We all came here this morning to find out that staffers of the airline were not allowed into the terminal and offices to work.”
Yakubu said Arik owes all the 22 airports across the country.