Ibom, Azman Air resume flight operations after strike

IBOM Air and Azman Air have resumed flight operations at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2, Lagos, after the strike that disrupted flights yesterday.

Yesterday, some flights were cancelled and travels disrupted when the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) protested the sack of 37 workers by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

Arik’s 2pm flight was cancelled as a result of yesterday’s action. Credit: FlightRadar24/ICIR

The union had alleged that its members were sacked without due process over the weekend and barricaded airport gates as early as 2am, thereby preventing activities from holding.

Azman Air and Ibom Air swiftly reacted to the situation by issuing travel advisories to passengers scheduled to fly from the airport to check in early, while warning that the strike action might impact air travel.

Some of the airlines and passengers were made to use the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to purchase tickets and process their flights.

However, later in the day, both Ibom Air and Azman Air announced that normalcy had returned to the airport, as flights scheduled for today, November 2, 2022, would promptly leave the airport.

Some of the workers picketing MMA2 yesterday.

Ibom Air wrote via its official page, “Dear Valued Passengers. We are pleased to announce our flight resumption at MMA2 Lagos, therefore, our flights from the 2nd of November 2022 will operate per schedule into & from MMA2 Lagos.

“Thank you for your patience & understanding.”

Similarly, Azman Air told passengers that flights would resume at MMA2, while appreciating customers for their patience.

It wrote, “This is to inform all our esteemed passengers departing from Lagos that normalcy has been restored at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Domestic Terminal 2 (MMA2). In lieu of this, all our operations will resume at the Terminal accordingly. We sincerely appreciate your understanding during the picketing at the Terminal and we are confident the situation has been handled with no hope of reoccurrence.”

The Chief Operating Officer, Ibom Airlines Limited, George Uriesi, commenting on the impact of the strike, revealed that, at least, 1,900 passengers were impacted by the action.

Uriesi said, “Let us put in perspective the practical consequences of the labour action taken today at MM2. For starters, my airline had 31 flights scheduled for today, 98 per cent of them either originating, terminating or linked to an originating flight from Lagos. This meant that we disrupted the programmes of approximately 1,900 paid-up passengers. Only God knows how to fully quantify this in not just economic, but also trauma terms.

    “For us the airline, a lot of the catering ordered, paid for and delivered for our flights today is now wasted (due to perishability). We were forced to reschedule, at least,1,000 already booked and confirmed passengers on other flights from tomorrow, costing us heavily in lost revenue (having to remove seats from sales inventory) and wasted man hours, while placing severe and unnecessary pressure on the system. We also had to organize (at considerable additional cost, not to mention huge inconvenience) to operate in and out of GAT today. For the service providers – ground handlers, outsourced security, etc – plenty of unnecessary and unexpected loss of revenue. Huge waste of man hours.”

    He explained that yesterday was a largely unproductive day and something the industry can hardly afford at this critical time. He urged that the matter be resolved going forward, especially for the growth of the aviation industry.

    A memo from the national secretariat of ATSSSAN to all its branches and other unions who solidarized with it in the picketing of MMA2 stated that “the strike that was embarked upon against the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, BASL, has been called off.”

    The memo, however, revealed that a truce was brokered “at a meeting empanelled by the Ministry of Labour & Employment; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and airport security agencies.”

    Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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