As the strike by aviation workers enters its second day, airline operators have been counting their losses, with thousands of travellers stranded at the airport.
The strike began on Wednesday following unresolved dispute between the workers’ unions and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2), Ikeja.
The protesting unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
Despite a subsisting court order by a judge, I. N Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos restraining them from the action, the workers are protesting over alleged sack of 24 of their members by BASL.
The striking unions have continued to picket the Murtala Muhammed International Airport terminal where most of the private airlines like Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors operate.
Most of the airline operators have moved their passenger boarding and processing desks to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) section operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in a frantic move to find alternative arrangements to fly passengers out of Lagos.
But, Dana Air bemoaned its losses on Thursday, claiming it has so far lost over N100 million to the ongoing action, even as there are not immediate hope of it being called off.
“For now, we (Dana) have lost over N100 million to the ongoing action,” spokesperson of the airline, Kingsley Ezenwa, said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
“Losing such money in an industry where airlines are still grappling with a myriad of challenges is unacceptable and disappointing to say the least.
“We do not know how the situation will be in the coming days and we might have no other option than to downsize if the action stretches for too long,” he added.
While apologising to its customers who missed their flights as a result of strike, the airline said it had joined others operating out of Lagos from MMA2 to make temporary alternative flight arrangement from the GAT terminal.
Dana, however, expressed its worst fear whether the terminal would be able to process the number of passengers when there is a coincidence in flight schedule with all the eight airlines now operating from the GAT terminal.
Besides, the airline said it has sent appeals to the disputing parties to resolve the crisis in the interest of the passengers.
“Without passengers, there won’t be any airline, regulator or industry. We believe they shouldn’t suffer for what they did not contribute to,” Mr Ezenwa said.
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