Hundreds of Arik Air passengers were stranded on Friday morning at various airports across the country following an unannounced strike by the cabin crew.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the worst hit is Abuja and Lagos passengers where Arik has its major customers.
NAN learnt that the cabin crew commenced the strike Friday morning without prior notice over what they termed “non increment of their salaries and allowances.”
Several passengers were seen milling around terminal B of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where Arik Air operates from.
NAN also observed that some other airlines took advantage of the situation to sell tickets to the stranded passengers at exorbitant rates ranging from N40,000 to N50,000 for the Abuja to Lagos route.
NAN reports that members of staff of Arik Air were seen explaining to passengers and appealing to them to remain calm as the airline management negotiated with the striking workers.
A source at the airline told NAN the airline announced a two-hour delay on all its flights.
He said the airline believed that negotiation with the aggrieved crew members could be concluded in two hours, adding that if the negotiation lingered, more delays would happen.
He explained that the crew members were demanding for allowances that hitherto applied when Arik Air operated long haul routes like New York, London and Johannesburg.
According to him, when those flights where happening, a crew member could accumulate between 100 and 120 flying hours which came with special bonuses and they also enjoyed special allowances.
“For instance, the New York flight attracted 100 dollars allowance per night while the London flight attracted 60 pounds per night, multiply by the number of nights spent abroad.
“The crew members are still demanding for same working conditions as before which may not be possible as they also do not work as before.
“The current Arik Air management introduced an attractive working condition for staff you can’t find in the industry.
“For instance, the staff received their December salary on the 20th, a feat that has never happened before,” the source said.
The official also said that Arik had one of the best health insurance in the industry, saying that its health insurance scheme allowed each staff to register as high as 10 dependants.