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FG Stops Arik Air From Retrenching 300 Staff

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, said on Thursday that the Federal Government intervened to stop the planned retrenchment of 300 workers by Arik Air.

Last week, Arik had through a statement signed by its spokesman, Adebanji Ola, said the sacking of the 300 was due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.

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The statement, titled ‘Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant’, read in part: “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.”

However, speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the NCAA DG noted that though there was a threat by Arik Air to sack some workers, it never happened.

“Yes there was an issue but the staff were never sacked. There was a threat by one of the airlines and some disengagement disagreements, but the NCAA intervened.

“We spoke with both the management and labour unions and they have agreed to go back to the discussion table.

“The last report I received, they have made significant progress in closing that gaps. We hope they conclude and nobody is sacked,” Nuhu stated.

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On the recent increase in domestic airfares of over 100 per cent, Nuhu insisted that it was inevitable.

According to him, the increase was one of the fall outs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: “As regards ticket prices, yes ticket prices have gone up astronomically over the last week or so. That is one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aviation, tourism and travel industry is one of the most devastated industries.

“Because we had a shutdown for several months, the airlines were not making money and there are fixed cost that they have to deal with.

“They have to maintain the aircraft and unfortunately most of these aircraft are maintained outside the country.”

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