2nd June, 2012
Air Nigeria was Friday grounded by a strike action embarked upon by its pilots and engineers over non payment of salaries.
Domestic and regional flights were delayed and mostly cancelled as passengers were stranded for hours nationwide.
The pilots and engineers, under the umbrella of Nigerian Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, were said to have given only one hour notice before embarking on strike.
In a brawny statement, Air Nigeria said the aggrieved pilots and engineers are being used by competitors, adding that their action is “unacceptable, criminal and uncalled for”.
“The strike action is uncalled for and a cheap blackmail by NAAPE as only one hour notice was given before the strike action was embarked upon.
“This to say the least, is an unacceptable behaviour in the aviation industry and management is of the view that NAAPE is acting under external influence.
“It is very unreasonable and cheap blackmail for NAAPE to embark on strike action based on non payment of May salaries at the mid night of May 31st when in fact some of the staff had collected their salaries with the rest of the staff still being processed.
“It is therefore illegal and criminal for NAAPE to allow itself to be used by competitors, who are envious of the giant steps already taken by Air Nigeria and management is already working on a policy that will put a permanent stop to this cheap blackmail.
“We regret the inconveniences this development has caused our passengers and wish to assure that efforts are ongoing to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. In order to minimise the inconveniences, we have set up a refund process across our route network for passengers wishing to seek alternative arrangements for their travels,” Air Nigeria said.
The striking pilots and engineers said they are not backing down and the strike continues tomorrow (Saturday).
By Simon Ateba