Early on January 23, 2023, many Nigerians arrived at various airports across the country, hoping to catch flights to their destinations. However, they soon discovered that the only thing they’ll be catching is feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment.
Around 12 am on January 23, 2023, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) workers embarked on an indefinite strike due to some grievances with their management over their wages.
They had been undergoing the process of salary review, but due to the promotions recently given to about 2000 people, the management decided to put a hold on the reviews till February 2023. However, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) weren’t happy with this decision, so they decided to strike against NAHCO’s management.
This left many passengers stranded as airlines have no choice but to reschedule or cancel their flights. But what exactly is NAHCO, and why are they important?
What is NAHCO?
The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), established in 1979, is in charge of the service sector of the aviation industry. They provide aviation training, crew transportation, cargo and passenger handling, aircraft handling and refuelling. They offer these services to about 35 domestic and international airlines including Dana, Air Peace, Qatar Airways and United Airlines.
How would this strike affect the country?
Loss of revenue
This isn’t Nigeria’s first rodeo when it comes to strikes in the aviation industry. However, it consequently always leads to losses running into millions of naira. A spokesperson from Air Peace reported that the recent strike would result in a ₦500 million loss for them.
Our reputation continues to suffer internationally
A plane under Qatar Airways had to return to Doha empty because no one could load or check passengers’ luggage. Also, many local and foreign travellers are stranded in airports around the country because of this strike action. Nigeria is no stranger to international disgrace. However, situations like this don’t send the right message, especially less than a month before the general elections.
It’s almost like we intentionally wave red flags to foreign investors.
What is NAHCO’s management saying?
The Group Director, Dr. Olusola Obabori, has come out to say that conversations are already being held with the unions and stakeholders. He also said that a solution would most likely be found within hours.
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