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Union seeks presidency’s intervention on operation of new airline

(L-R) NUATE’s; Treasurer, Comrade Sofiya Amga, General Secretary, Comrade Abba Ocheme and Branch Secretary Arik/Local State Council, Okoloji David at a press briefing held at NUATE Secretariat, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. Photo: Nosa Aituamen

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has called on the Presidency to intervene in the crisis regarding the issuance of the Air Operator’s Certificate to Nigeria Eagle (NG Eagle) airline.

The airline is to be floated by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

The union says the intervention by the Presidency would help avert a major mishap in the aviation sector and avoid a chaotic end to Arik Air under receivership by AMCON on the verge of being liquidated to birth Nigeria Eagle.

“The underline issue to the crisis is that there are two sides, the minister’s side is afraid that if NG Eagle succeeds it could metamorphose into a national carrier, and if that happens, ongoing efforts by the minister to form a national carrier could be jettisoned”, General Secretary, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba alleged at a news briefing in Lagos.

Comrade Aba emphasised that denial of AOC to NG Eagle would shut out 20,000 potential jobs for Nigerians, alongside the opportunity for the reasonable number of Arik Staff to migrate to the new airline.

He said, the fears by 2 aviation unions that Arik Air was transforming itself to NG Eagle and would thereby escape its heavy indebtedness to FAAN and other aviation agencies was true but unfortunately the debts may become bad debts as the airline in question was not capable to pay off its N19billion debts.

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On worker’s entitlements, the NUATE scribe said, talks were on with AMCON on the matter, assuring that the unions would ensure all workers of the soon to be liquidated Arik Air get all due entitlements.

“We are clamoring for the NG Eagle’s birth because our interest is best protected by AMCON”, Comrade Abba noted.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; editing by Muzha Kucha