A member of aviation industry think tank, Aviation Round Table, and Chief Executive, Centurion Securities, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd), has warned that the threats by unions in the industry to disrupt the activities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two being operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited over their demand that some workers disengaged by the firm must be recalled pose a great danger to the country’s aviation sector.
Speaking on a Channels Television programme, Aviation Today, monitored in Lagos on Wednesday, Ojikutu said if the unions carried out their threats, it would tarnish the image of the country and negatively affect the travelling public as well as airlines and other businesses operating at the terminal.
He said, “The unions have the right to go on protests but there must be limits in aviation. If you say you want to disrupt the operations of MMA2 and you call the airlines operating from there to find an alternative, I get worried and I ask, what is the NCAA doing about it? There is nothing that happens in aviation today, good or bad, call the NCAA. If they fail to do it, then something is wrong.
“Disrupting the operations of the airport terminal will affect airlines, who have a responsibility to the travelling public and other operators. If you disrupt an operator, you are simply hurting the nation and giving a very bad image of the country to the outside world. This is a country that wants to concession some of its airports, what are you telling the people that want to come in to buy into this? You are simply telling them not to come and if they don’t, how do you have a meal on your table? That is where my worry is.”
Ojikutu added, “My question is, where does the NCAA come in, in all of this because something came up before I heard about the union crisis? The NCAA came up with a report on the number of flights and cancellations not too long ago, I challenged it and it was blamed on the airlines. More than 6,000 cancellations in 10,000 flights in one quarter is worrisome. Is it coming from the airlines alone? Are the terminal operators not part of the reasons, particularly passenger facilitation?
“Let me say this, I am not in the defence of Bi-Courtney but you should ask, how many number of delays came from GAT? How many came from MMA2? The bulk of the delays are from GAT. The question is how many passenger gates and checkpoint screenings do we have at GAT and how many are at MMA2?
“If you look at it properly, then you will know that if you cause trouble at the MMA2, there will be more delays and cancellations. If that happens, it goes back to these people that are talking of going on strike.”
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