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Government stops retrenchment of 300 Arik Air staff

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has halted the sacking of over 300 Arik Air Airline.

The airline was hit by the COVID-19 impact and would have sack sacked the staff due to inability to cope with the wage bill, but with the intervention of government, the staff are allowed to keep their job.

Also reacting to public outcry over hike in air fares, the Federal Government on Thursday disclosed that the over 100% hike in domestic airfares was inevitable, was as a result of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, disclosed this in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

He said, “As regards ticket prices, yes ticket prices have gone up astronomically over the last week or so. That is one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aviation, tourism and travel industry is one of the most devastated industries.

“Because we had a shutdown for several months, the airlines were not making money and there are fixed cost that they have to deal with.

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“They have to maintain the aircraft and unfortunately most of these aircraft are maintained outside the country.”

Nuhu stated that because of the shutdown, airlines could not find slots to take their aircraft out, adding that the dollar rate had gone up and operators needed to raise enough money.

On the issue of 300 sacked staff employees of Arik Air, the NCAA boss said the workers were not retrenched.

“Yes there was an issue but the staff were never sacked. There was a threat by one of the airlines and some disengagement disagreements, but the NCAA intervened,” Nuhu said,

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He added, “We spoke with both the management and labour unions and they have agreed to go back to the discussion table.

“The last report I received, they have made significant progress in closing that gaps. We hope they conclude and nobody is sacked.”

But speaking during his appearance before the Senate Committee on Finance, on Thursday, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed that the Federal Government has released the sum of N5 billion to airline operators as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

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