Friday, 21 September 2012

Hundreds of passengers stranded as Arik suspends domestic flights

Hundreds of local passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Thursday as the country’s largest commercial carrier, Arik Air, decided to suspend its domestic flights after aviation unions disrupted activities at the airport.

The President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Mr. Benjamin Okewu, told journalists on Thursday that the unions decided to ground the operations of Arik over alleged failure to pay service charges it owed government agencies such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; Nigerian Airspace Management Agency; and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

However, a statement by the airline quoted the Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, as denying the allegations.
The statement by the airline read, “Due to persistent hostility of the Ministry of Aviation and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, which has culminated in the use of FAAN staff to stop Arik Air operations and lock in checked-in passengers in Lagos this morning, Arik Air has no option than to suspend all domestic operations until further notice.
“This issue bears on personal interests and not payment of bills; since FAAN has been collecting its charges in advance since 18 months now. Arik Air regrets the inconveniences this disruption by FAAN would cause our guests.



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