Hordes of passengers travelling across the country were stranded at airports, particularly in Lagos and Abuja, on Thursday due to a warning industrial action by the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NAATC). However, the situation has now been brought under control, following the temporary suspension of the strike.
The terminal of the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos was unusually filled. Narrating her experience to TheCable, a passenger who was primed for a business trip to Abuja, had said: “I was on a business trip to Abuja. I was already on board an Arik Air plane scheduled to depart by 7am and after 15 minutes, the pilot announced that he was waiting for clearance from control tower. “We were all in a state of confusion until 7:45am when we were told to disembark and that they would get back to us in two hours. “From two hours, they said they would let us know when to fly.
I had to inform my clients over there that I couldn’t make it and I’ve lost the deal because the meeting was supposed to be today. “How long shall we continue like this in this country? Is it about the man hour loss that I have suffered today? Or the sheer waste of resources?” TheCable gathered that only an Aero Contractors flight of 6:45am was able to depart from Lagos to Abuja before the strike action commenced. Only one flight was allowed to land as well, one coming to Lagos from Port Harcourt.
Normal activities subsequently returned to the airports, as the workers suspended the strike, threatening to continue on Friday if their demands are not met. NAATC is protesting for the payment of packing and landing tariff owed by airlines.
Fidelis Mbah, a journalist, who witnessed the protest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, confirmed that the situation had been brought under control. “They have called some flights for boarding. Dana has called about two; Medview and Arik are now flying as well,” he told TheCable. “The situation is calm and activities are gradually returning to normal. But some other passengers have left after their flights were cancelled. “I’ve been here for five hours, no scheduled departure time.”