21st September, 2012
Simon Ateba/Aviation Correspondent
Federal Government aviation workers have called off the two-day old protests against Nigeria’s largest airline , their union said on Friday afternoon.
“We have called off the revenue drive against Arik Air due to government intervention,” said Comrade Ajagbe Femi Adebayo, Assistant General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN.
Adebayo did not give details, but sources said the protests were called off after a meeting with Dr. Harold Demuren, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
The aviation workers from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and the National Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, had accused Arik Air of owing their employers over N18 billion and refusing to pay. Arik Air, however, at a press briefing on Thursday said it owes only N1.6 billion.
Arik Air makes about 100 flights a day and is said to be the biggest airline in West Africa, in terms of fleet size.
It was not clear when Arik Air would resume operations as its spokesperson, Mr. Banji Ola, said he was not aware the protests have been called off.
“You heard but we are not aware,” he said, referring to the protests being called off.
The General Aviation Terminal, GAT, where Arik operates from Lagos, was vastly deserted today as many passengers stormed the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 to board Aero Contractors airline, now Nigeria’s second largest airline.