To many unsuspecting passengers at various airports all over the country, the delay and cancellation of flights by the management might seem normal and will be quick to buy the explanation of scarcity of aviation fuel or bad weather.
We can authoritatively report that what has been happening for the past four (4) days is due to an ongoing labour dispute at Arik Air. It is on record that staff has not been paid for over 2 months and the delays and cancelled flights is because Cabin Crew members and Pilots are on strike.
The skeletal service the airline has been able to render is due to some Captains who obliged after serious persuasion by the management. According to our source, the 7am flight to Abuja and Port-Harcourt did not depart until 6pm.
Unconfirmed report has it that past occurrence is not only about scarcity of aviation fuel or high running cost, past labour disputes and actions were also a reason. This bad practice by the management of Arik Air will surely compromise air safety.
The skill and dedication of Pilots and Cabin crew members to their job is never in doubt, but consider this: a pilot rather than focus on flying is worried about medical bills of a loved one, pending payments for a house, or tuition as school resumption is imminent?
Do we want to risk a member of the cabin crew, who hasn’t been paid for a certain period of time; has a mental breakdown mid-air, to such an extent that it creates risk for passengers? Or if an engineer, who will not focus on the job because he or she worries about her kid’s pending school fees, and misses an important step in the maintenance checks of an aircraft?
This indeed is not the best of times for staff and passengers of Arik Air.