The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has come to the rescue of the troubled East African carrier, Kenya Airways, by pleading with the union to suspend its picketing action against the airline.
It was gathered that the management of the regulatory agency, on Tuesday night and early Wednesday, held a closed-door meeting with the management of the airline and the major union in the Nigerian aviation industry, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), where it was agreed that the union would temporarily halt its picketing.
At the meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the agency at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, NCAA appealed to the union to allow the airline to resume its flight operations for another 48 hours, hoping that the welfare issues raised by the unions would be resolved by the end of that period.
The General Secretary of NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, confirmed to our correspondent that the NCAA intervened in the labor crisis between the two organizations.
He, however, vowed that if the issues raised by the unions were not resolved within the 48-hour grace period, the union would resume the picketing action against the airline by next Tuesday.
According to him, all the stranded passengers of the airline have been allowed to be airlifted to their various destinations, but he insisted that the conditions of service signed into agreement by both parties in April 2016 must be adhered to.
VIDEO: Passengers upset with @KenyaAirways as the airline hasn't airlifted anyone from Lagos airport in two days. The airline check-in was disrupted yesterday by union protesting "casualization" policy of the airline. pic.twitter.com/pfacyudeie— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) December 13, 2017
“We have not resolved the issue, but the NCAA has intervened. Since the regulatory authority has come in, we resolved that we should allow the stranded passengers to be airlifted to their destinations.
“NCAA gave them 48 hours to address some of the issues raised by the union, and after the deadline, if the issue is not resolved, we will continue the picketing of the airline by next Tuesday,” Mr. Abioye said.
A source close to Kenya Airways told our correspondent that at least 65 passengers who had scheduled flights with Kenya Airways were flown by RwandAir on Tuesday night.
At least 12 other passengers were booked into the Lagos Airport Hotel in Ikeja.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, the source said, “The affected passengers have been observed, endorsed and checked in on RwandAir flight WB 201(KGL). However, the airline is presently in a closed-door meeting with members of the labor unions and some management staff from NCAA Industrial Relations and Welfare Department.
“The remaining 12 passengers have been accommodated at Airport Hotel, Ikeja. This position was also confirmed by Mr Hafeez Balogun the airline’s Country Manager, who further stated that the labor impasse is still yet to be resolved,” he said.
It was also gathered that the management of the airline in Lagos, led by its Country Manager, Hafeez Balogun, held a closed door meeting with the leadership of NUATE at the NCAA premises in order to resolve the quandary.