Posted by Sade Williams
Scores of passengers, both international and domestic, were on Monday, stranded as their flights could not be processed as workers of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCo Plc) down tools over bickering on salary issues.
It was gathered that some the airline being handled by NAHCO, including Delta, Turkish Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar, and Air France-KLM are currently finding it difficult to take off as there was no staff in sight to deploy ground support equipment for their services, as luggage litter the terminal amidst confusion.
An Air Peace notice to passengers this morning told them that ‘due to NAHCO strike, its flight schedule has changed. Hence your 6:25 am flight P47420 Lagos to Kaduna for today 23 January will now depart at 10 am’.
An anonymous source told The Travel Port that ‘ afriend of mine and his wife were scheduled to travel back to the USA separately on Air Maroc and Virgin Atlantic this morning. Air Maroc, they were told, diverted to Cotonou while Virgin could not be loaded.’
The notice of strike issued by aviation union to NAHCO on January 18, 2023, indicates that the workers have been engaging the company over review of salaries since June 2022 ‘without any headway’.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) stated that the ultimatum it gave NAHCO management expired unheeded, hence the need for an industrial action.
“In the above regard, all NAHCO staff are hereby directed to withdraw services with effect from Monday 23, 2023. This action shall be indefinite until otherwise directed by the secretariats of the unions”, the notices reads in part.
Many of Virgin Atlantic’s passengers are students who are returning to schools in the United Kingdom. Many of their parents and guardians in Nigeria and the UK were heard calling their wards in a bid to know the next line of action.
There are indications that more airlines could be affected by the problem created by the company.
A manager at NAHCO who spoke to the medium promised to get back with the company’s position on the matter.