In this interview with some Aviation Journalists in Lagos, the general manager Public Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati speaks on the threats of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC to shut down the airports to force the federal government to reverse the increment in the pump price of fuel, the issue of flight cancellations anmong others.
Comment on the strike and its impact on aviation industry?
As you can see, airlines have commenced operation as early as schedule and we have had morning flights early this morning from Lagos, Murtala Muhammed Airport, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja and other airports across the country, so we have been doing our schedule operations across the country for all the airlines except of course where we have delays due to scarcity of aviation fuel, Jet A1, workers are out ensuring that the activities go on as schedule.
What if the airport is shut down on Thursday by NLC?
Well, it is a free country, but we of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria are committed to ensuring that we give the services that we are been paid for and that is why we are out to ensure that we continue with our operations and we also want to thank the security agencies who have ensured that the operations at the airports across the country are going on as scheduled and the staff are also turning up to ensure that they provide the service that we are been paid for.
What will happen if FAAN staff join the strike?
The fact remains that, FAAN does not rely on revenue allocation from the federal government to pay salaries and our staff are well aware of that and that is why, they have come out enmasse to ensure that we operate because if we do not open our airports to operate and give services, we may not be able to raise the money that we need to pay ourselves for the work, so we have a responsibility if we want to get our money to ensure that we work and get paid for the services that we provide because we are service providers.
Well the issue of flight cancellation has been on-going, it is likely because of the challenge of getting aviation fuel and I believe that it is the same reason that is responsible for the cancellation, already airports are been made to address those issues.
What is your message to the passengers?
Well our message to passengers is that the airports are all open, we are all operating and our staff are already at their desks to ensure that we provide the services that we are paid for and we will continue to do so within our capacity.