For the second time in three months, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is intervening in the crisis between the aviation and transportation unions and troubled Arik Air.
The unions, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and National Association of Aircraft Pilot and Engineers had on Thursday morning picketed operations of the airline over anti-labour practices and prevented major oil marketers from supplying fuel to the airline.
The industry regulator, in a meeting at its headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos yesterday, appealed to the unions to resolve any labour issue it has with the organization and promised to call them back for another meeting next week.
An Arik Air media consultant statement by the media consultant to the airline, Simon Tumba confirmed the NCAA’s mediation on the issue.
Mr. Tumba however, announce the normalization of operations with effect from today on all routes and apologized to its customer for the disruption of services, following the picketing of its operations by the unions.
The statement quoted Roy Ilegbodu, Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air as saying that: "We sincerely apologize to our customers for the disruption of our operations today caused by the picketing of our services. We have resolved the issue with the unions and wish to inform the traveling public that our services have resumed today.
"We reassure our customers of on time departure and great travel experience and look forward to welcoming them onboard our flights.”
It would be recalled that NCAA had last December intervened in the picketing of the airline over non-payment of salaries and illegal deductions from unions’ members working with the airline.
As a result of the intervention then, the former management of Arik Air agreed to pay all salary arrears to its workers.
The intervention of NCAA, led to the shelving of the strike, but less than two months later, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria took over the airline following massive indebtedness to several creditors, partners and financial institutions.