According to industry stakeholders, labor strikes in the aviation sector have resulted in significant financial losses, with estimates suggesting that the industry has lost up to N20 billion in the last five years due to avoidable strikes. The latest example of this was the sudden disruption of flight operations by the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) strike on Monday, resulting in a loss of over N4 billion for domestic, international, and cargo airlines.
Stakeholders in the aviation industry have revealed that the negative impact of labour strikes on the industry is a major deterrent for foreign investors. It was reported that in the last five years, the industry has lost approximately N20 billion due to strikes that could have been prevented. The recent 14-hour strike by the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) caused significant losses for domestic, international, and cargo airlines.
Sources have stated that foreign investors are hesitant to invest in the aviation industry due to the lack of control over labour unions and their tendency to strike without proper notice. This has led to businesses, such as Spar Supermarket, leaving the Domestic Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA2) due to constant disruptions to their operations.
Executive Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu, stated that the industry has allowed labour unions to have too much control and that their actions are detrimental to the success of the industry. He emphasized that strikes should be conducted outside of airport operations in order to minimize disruptions to other airport users and service providers.
According to industry expert and Executive Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART), Group Captain John Ojikutu, the main issue at the heart of the recent labour strike at the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) is salary increase, which needs to be thoroughly examined. He noted that the strike resulted in huge losses for airlines and inconvenience for passengers, and questioned who would be responsible for compensating them for these losses. Ojikutu also emphasized the importance of proper oversight and enforcement of civil aviation regulations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and not the Ministry or National Assembly. He also stated that according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), NCAA will hold the responsibility for matters of civil aviation in the country, not the NASS or the Ministry.
The CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, expressed disappointment in the recent strike by the workers of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) for disrupting flight operations and causing major financial losses for the aviation industry. He stated that while the workers have the right to strike, they should not have extended it to withdrawing services for airlines, which poses a threat to the security of the nation and flight operations. He called for an investigation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and for action to be taken to prevent similar strikes from happening in the future. He also mentioned that last year, handling companies had requested an increase in payment for their services, which was approved by the NCAA and accepted by the airlines.
The CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi, expressed his disappointment in the striking workers and NAHCO for not issuing a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) to alert the global aviation industry of the strike. He called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to investigate those who instigated the strike and take necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. He also criticized the alliance between SAHCOL and NAHCO, which he claimed prevents them from assisting airlines not under their service, leading to the creation of a cartel in a deregulated market. Sanusi also pointed out that anyone who interferes with flight operations should be charged because it threatens national security. An industry stakeholder also commented on the situation, stating that labor unions in the industry were overreaching their power and causing losses for airlines and individuals with critical appointments. He also raised concerns about the impact on foreign investment in the aviation sector.
The federal government expressed its disapproval of the strike by aviation unions, which caused disruptions at major international airports in Abuja and Lagos, and warned that it would not allow a repeat of such actions. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made these statements during a press conference at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, where he was answering questions from reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting. He apologized to the passengers affected by the strike and emphasized that such actions were not permitted according to the FAAN Act.
Source: ThisDay Live