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Business News of Wednesday, 8 November 2023


Air Peace, Max Air, other aviation firms blacklist flights to Imo state nationwide, unions speak

Air Peace plane Air Peace plane

Unions in the aviation industry have directed the withdrawal of all flights to Owerri, the Imo State Capital, from all airports in Nigeria.

The move is in response to the directive of the labour unions, comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), following the manhandling of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero.

Unions explain reasons for the blacklisting state

The unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAPPE).

Daily Trust reports that the unions disclosed this in a joint statement signed by the association’s secretaries.

The statement read: “Following the escalation of the imbroglio created by the mayhem unleashed on workers by the Imo State Government of Hope Uzodimma and the continued insensitivity of the Government over the matter, and in compliance with the directive of the joint NEC session of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), the unions mentioned earlier, being affiliates of NLC and TUC, now direct all aviation workers (both public and private) to withdraw all services to all Owerri flights (inwards and outwards) from any airport in Nigeria with effect from midnight of 08/11/2023 (today).

“In addition, the person of Hope Uzodimma, the Governor of Imo State, is hereby declared persona non grata at all airports in Nigeria until he purges himself of crude tendencies.

“Our unions will make further efforts through our international affiliations to blacklist Hope Uzodimma worldwide.

“Furthermore, all aviation workers in Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, are hereby directed to stay at home, also with effect from midnight today (08/11/2023) as directed by NLC and TUC.

The strike action is indefinite until otherwise directed by NLC and TUC, the unions revealed.

Foreign and domestic airlines fume over trapped funds

The move comes as local and foreign airlines in Nigeria have raised the alarm of funds trapped with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Foreign airlines have said that about 90% of their $783 million trapped funds in Nigeria remain unpaid.

The airlines revealed this at a stakeholders’ forum convened by the minister of aviation and aerospace development, Festus Keyamo, in Lagos recently.

Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that as of August 2023, Nigeria owes about $783 million of block funds belonging to airlines.

The airlines revealed that a significant portion of the funds remained inaccessible. Nigeria has constantly cited a lack of Forex for unpaid debts as it grapples with huge backlogs, which it began to clear recently.