MMIA: Airlines resume operations as unions suspend strike

Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport

Flight operations resumed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Monday, with the international wing recording high patronage, following the suspension of a six-day-old strike by organised labour.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however, reports that few airlines offices opened for business.

Officials of Arik Air, Ethiopian Airline, Delta Airline and South African Airline, were seen attending to customers. NAN observed that long queues of passengers were at the checking-in counter of Arik Air for its flight to London and New York.

Some men of the Nigerian Police Force were stationed at the boarding entrance of the departure hall.

NAN reports that officials of aviation unions who were hitherto enforcing the strike at the airport had withdrawn from the international terminal.

The unions have also disappeared from the roads leading to the airport as vehicles, travellers, and airport officials now have free access to the airport.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) had called out workers for a nationwide strike which started on Jan. 9, over removal of petrol subsidy.

The officials of the unions are those from the Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

Some armed policemen and an anti-bomb police squad were, however, seen patrolling and checking vehicles around the airport.

Economic activities have also resumed at the airport, as restaurants, bureau-de-change shops and car hire services, have started operating. However, bank offices at the airport were still locked, while Automated Teller Machines (ATM) were not dispensing cash.

Some passengers who spoke with NAN, expressed optimism that both the Federal Government and the Labour Unions would come into a final agreement, in the interest of the country.

A New York bound passenger, Kenneth Orukpe, told NAN that the government should withdraw the soldiers from the roads “to avoid confrontation with civilians”.

A stranded passenger, Funmi Jayeola, expressed happiness that activities at the airport have improved, expressing hopes that there would be a flight for her soon.

An Ethiopian Airline passenger, who simply identified herself as Destiny, regretted that her flight to Addis Ababa was delayed.

“It is unfortunate, I had hoped to fly this morning but the airline officials announced that the flight will be delayed indefinitely. I will remain here till the flight is rescheduled,’’ she said.



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