As the picketing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 by aviation unions enters the second day, airlines affected by the action have started skeletal operation from the general aviation terminal.
Airlines affected by the face-off between the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) on the one hand and the managers of the terminal, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (LTD) Arik Air, Med-View Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors.
NewsGazette gathered that some of the airlines had taken the option of relocating to the GAT as a way curbing loss of revenue since the combatants in the imbroglio do not want to shift positions.
One of the airlines originally operating from the GAT told NewsGazette that since yesterday there had been influx of passengers to its counters.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said via its official twitter handle that the GAT was not affected by the ongoing strike and advised airport users to arrive early for check-in formalities.
Its spokesman, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said all the affected airlines had moved to the GAT.
“Our facility is capable of handling more passengers and there is no cause for alarm. AVSEC are on top of security matters at the terminal having given assurance that the traffic will be handled.
She also said the car park, shops at the facility are all getting more patronage due to the traffic surge.
The unions are protesting against alleged disengagement of 20 of their members by BASL.
The general secretary of ATSSSAN, Mr. Frances Akinjole, said in an interview that the unions were forced to carry out the action following the refusal by BASL to accede to their demands.
“This issue started since May when these workers were laid off for indicating interest to belong to unions.
“We met the management asking them to reinstate these workers and recognise their rights to join unions but they refused.
“The regulator of the industry, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as well as aviation security agencies have intervened in series of meetings, but BASL management has refused to do the needful to avert this crisis,” he said.
But the spokesman for BASL, Mr. Steve Omolale said the company had obtained a court order from the Federal High Court, Lagos, restraining the unions from shutting down Nigeria’s only privately-owned terminal.
“We will like to bring it to the attention of the entire public that the Federal High Court in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18 has granted an order restraining the unions from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the terminal.
“Pursuant to this order, members of the unions found in the premises of MMA2 would be liable to trespass.
“We reserve our right under the law of Nigeria to deal with such person as a trespasser,” he said.