Chief Allen Onyema, the chief executive officer (CEO), has disclosed that his airline lost about N700 million to flight disruptions caused by the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress in Imo State, Abuja and Lagos.
On Tuesday, the NLC declared a strike in Imo after its planned Workers’ Day celebration in the state was hampered.
The TUC and NLC, on Wednesday, disrupted Air Peace flight operations as they expressed their agitations.
Speaking on the matter, the airline’s management said the group “took over our counters in Owerri, Abuja, and Lagos, disrupting over 110 flights of Air Peace”.
Onyema who spoke on the development on Arise TV on Wednesday, said the airline lost about N700 million due to the trade unions’ actions.
“While I was out there on the war front, trying to rescue Nigerians, the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress were disrupting every Air Peace flight across the country today. We are losing about N700 million as a result of that,” he said.
“For somebody who has contributed so much to the nation; on a day like this, it is so insensitive of the NLC and TUC to disrupt our operations for something that does not even concern Air Peace.
“They said that governor Uzodinma of Imo state disrupted their May Day activities, therefore, no flight should go to Imo.”
The Air Peace boss said the trade unions had written to the airline, saying that no flight should be operated into Owerri on Wednesday.
“We have a contract with the passengers. NLC or TUC has no right to whatsoever instruct an airline not to update the contractual obligations they have to their passengers — they do not have that right,” he said.
“It is a shame to this nation that the security agents were watching an airline that is out there doing all it can for the nation was being barged upon — with some people wounded — making sure our operations were destabilised, posting massive delays and cancellations. Who is going to bear the brunt and those security agencies sat and watched.
“This same airline is out there in Egypt risking the lives of their crew and expending millions of naira on behalf of this country. They chose such a day. Something should happen, because we are not going to let this go down. We must recover all we lost today.”
Onyema said if no action is taken to address the situation, “then this country is a joke”.
“The airport environment is supposed to be sacrosanct and a sacred place. All over the world, you do not shout, else you will be picked up, not to talk about when they go into the tarmac to destabilise an airline,” he said.
“Somebody threw a spanner into one of those engines; that is an air crash waiting to happen and we continuously allow things like this to happen in this country in the name of unionism.”