Arik Air’s business activities were on Wednesday disrupted by members of several aviation unions over an alleged N12.4 billion debts owed the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
According to report, several passengers were left stranded at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport as placard-carrying unionists frustrated the operation of the airline as early as 6.30am.
Some stranded passengers were seen demanding a refund from the airline staff while others were making alternative arrangements on how to be able to depart for their destinations.
The Nigerian Travel Flight Deck reports that the union members said they resorted to blocking the airline from operating this morning after years of negotiation with the airline over the debt failed to yield any result.
Some of the placards had inscriptions such as: ‘Arik pay your 12.4bn debt’, ‘FAAN can no longer pay salaries, pension, staff claims due to your debt.’ “Debtors pay all you owe FAAN now.’ ‘Arik if you can’t pay don’t fly’, “Arik pay your debt, 12.4bn is too much.’
The General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) Olayinka Abioye, said in a statement that: “We are engaged in picketing exercise against Arik Air over its indebtedness to FAAN in the sum of N12.5b”.
FAAN’s spokesperson, Yakubu Datti, confirmed the picketing of the airline but could not provide further details.
The spokesperson of Arik Air, Ola Banji, said it was spurious for FAAN to claim it’s been owed N12.4 billion.