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Strike grounds domestic, international flights

The nationwide strike called by the organised labour on Monday paralysed activities at the nation’s airports, especially the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.




Domestic flights were completely grounded, while foreign airlines cancelled their scheduled flights into the country.

The two United States carriers operating daily flights into Nigeria, United Continental Airlines and Delta Airlines, did not operate their scheduled flights due to the strike.

Dutch carrier, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, also cancelled its flight due to the same reason.

However, other foreign and Nigerian-owned airlines operated their scheduled international flights.

These include Virgin Atlantic, Arik Air, Emirates, Middle East Airline, Kenya Airways, DHL, Ethiopian Airline, Air France and British Airways.

Earlier, the three apex unions in the aviation industry had grounded all domestic flights as members staged peaceful demonstrations within the nation’s premier airport, the MMA.

The unions are the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, National Union of Air Transport Employees, and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.

Leaders of the three unions led thousands of aviation workers on peaceful protests from one end of the airport to another.

The protesters chanted anti-government slogans, while some were seen carrying placards that read, “Subsidy my pocket;” “Jonathan has no shoes, he borrowed my shoes;” “Jonathan, respect the wishes of Nigerians;” and “The voice of Jonathan, the hands of IMF.”

The protesters were led by the National President, ATSSSAN, Mr. Benjamin Okewu; National President, NAAPE, Mr. Isaac Balami; and Acting General Secretary, NUATE, Mr. Abdul-Kareem Motajo.

The domestic wing of the MMA was empty and deserted with only a handful of aviation security men seen manning some strategic places.

Policemen had a difficult time preventing protesters from carrying out their mission.

Apart from Arik, which carried out its early morning flight, no other airline ventured to do any flight.

Some international passengers, who arrived aboard early morning flights from London and other foreign destinations, were stranded at the airport.

They could not get connecting flights out of Lagos to other cities within the country.

Also, some government officials and journalists, who arrived from the African National Congress convention in South Africa, were stranded at the Presidential lounge of the MMIA.

At about 4pm, they were, however, airlifted by a Gulf Stream Presidential aircraft with registration number 5N-GS


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Posted by on Jan 11 2012. Filed under Latest Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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