Leaders of some aviation workers’ union have expressed divergent views on the decision by the management of Aero Contractors to suspend scheduled flight from Sept. 1.
Mr Isaac Balami, President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has applauded the decision of Aero management to suspend its flight operations in the country.
Balami, while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the decision of the airline was necessary in order not to destroy the safety records it had maintained over the years.
He said that it was not reasonable to continue to fly when safety could not be guaranteed, adding that the airline had not carried out proper checks and maintenance because of lack of funds.
According to him, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has been providing lifeline for the airline but has since stopped putting in money.
“Due to the shortage of foreign exchange, about six or seven Aero aircraft have not undergone C-check for sometimes now which is a serious safety issue.
“There is also the issue of high cost of aviation fuel which has also contributed to the non-profitability of operation.
As a professional in the industry, I believe that safety comes first,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Banjamin Okewu, President, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), said the management of Aero did not carry its members along before taking the decision.
Okewu said that the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment had recently asked them to go into negotiation with the airline on the matter.
He said the airline unilaterally took the decision to suspend its operation without consulting the union.
According to him, it is not possible to take such decision without engaging their members.
“We have asked our people to come to work tomorrow while we meet to decide on what to do,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the airline had on Wednesday announced the suspension of its scheduled flights citing economic reasons. (NAN)