On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, the News Agency of Nigeria reported that unions in the aviation industry gave directives to their members working at Arik Air to commence a joint strike for the airline’s failure to pay seven months’ salary arrears and other anti-labour practices.
The unions involved in the strike were National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE). They said they will not suspend the strike until their demands are met by the management of the airline. However, this strike was called off yesterday following the intervention of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
This is happening about 13 days after the Director Consumer Protection Directorate of NCAA, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, announced that the agency is going to order Arik Air to pay its passengers $150 each for failing to ferry passengers’ luggage 48 hours after arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos from Abuja.
Arik Air is notorious for regularly delaying flights or cancelling them on short notice. This can easily be perceived as a blatant disregard for its customers. Many times on social media, people have recounted their bad experiences with the airline.
However, there are reports that Aero Contactors is scheduled to resume services across Nigeria from today, December 21. The return of Aero Contractors, which is also one of the major airlines in Nigeria, could make Arik sit up.
Ventures Africa’s recent article on Arik Air stated that this festive period is a good time for the airline to prove to its passengers that it can be better than they think. So far, the company has not done much in that direction. Air left several local and international passengers stranded at the airport on Tuesday because of the staff salary protests.
It’s interesting to note that all of these issues about Arik Air are coming up at a time when the company is planning to raise as much as $1 billion through a private share placement next year and a possible initial public offering (IPO) in Lagos and London.