By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – Dana Air on Thursday said it had lost over N100 million to the ongoing dispute between aviation unions and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
The airliner said that the dispute had led to the shutting down of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 where it was operating from.
Dana Air’s Communication Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said the airline might also be forced to downsize if the industrial action should continue for too long.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the unions had for the second-day running grounded flight operations and business activities at the terminal over the alleged sacking of 24 employees by BASL for indicating interest to unionise.
The unions are: 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).
Ezenwa said: “For now, we have lost over N100 million to the ongoing action.
“Losing such money in an industry where airlines are still grappling with a myriad of challenges is unacceptable and disappointing to say the least.
“We do not know how the situation will be in the coming days and we might have no other option that to downsize if the action stretches for too long,” he said.
Ezenwa also apologised to the airline’s teeming passengers who had missed their flights as a result of the ongoing dispute between the two parties.
He disclosed that the airline had temporarily moved its operations to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) due to the picketing.
“Our worst fear, however is, if the terminal will be able to process the number of passengers when there is a coincidence in flight schedule with over eight airlines having to operate from the GAT at the moment.
“We appeal to the parties involved to resolve the dispute in consideration of the passengers for whom we are all in the industry to serve.
“Without the passengers, there will not be any airline, regulator or industry and we believe they should not suffer for what they did not contribute to.
“While we respect the rights of both parties to engage each other based on extant laws, we call on all concerned to intervene and save the industry from further crises,” he said in a statement issued in Lagos.
Ezenwa noted that at the moment, MMA2 remained the terminal that was providing passengers the best in terms of facilitation.
He thanked Dana Air passengers for their constant support and understanding and assured them of the airline’s commitment to continue to offer the best of services at all times.