NIGERIAN domestic airline Arik Air has made 300 members of staff redundant in response to the economic downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the global aviation industry particularly hard.
More than most industries, the aviation sector has suffered a near meltdown as international travel has all but ceased due to Covid-19. Although airports and travel routes have since reopened, the services they offer are limited, passenger numbers e down and airlines have incurred the costs of providing extra security.
Worldwide, this has hit the sector bad and in Nigeria, the aviation industry does not have the luxury of a generous government bailout package. As a result, many airlines have had to cut the sizes of their fleets and Arik has decided to shed staff, announcing that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
Arik spokesman Banji Ola, said: “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 has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations. The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
He added that over 50% of Arik’s workforce of over 1,600 staff have been furloughed over the past six months. Currently in receivership, Arik has been is serious trouble over the last four years, with the Asset Management Company of Nigerian taking over its operations.
Mr Ola also apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020. Their picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Domestic Terminal.