International airlines suspend flights to Nigeria over strike

KLM flights to NigeriaFollowing the on-going nationwide strike, some foreign airlines may have suspended operations in the country pending when the crisis is resolved.

Already, KLM Airlines said it had stopped operations to Nigeria because it could no longer guarantee the safety of its crew and equipment.

Spokesman for Air France-KLM, Mrs. Funmi Ojesina in a chat with The Guardian said that the carrier had suspended operations for now until safety could be guaranteed.

Also, Lufthansa which had earlier suspended its operations on Tuesday said, “we expect flight operations to restart on Thursday (today). That is outbound leaving each from Lagos and Abuja to Frankfurt. For inbound, we expect flights to come in by tomorrow.

A source who pleaded anonymity said the airlines were equally concerned with the quality of air traffic control that is being handled by insufficient workers and could not risk the consequence of an accident.

They may have taken the decision on the heels of the attack of Ethiopian Airways crew on Tuesday as they were turned back to their hotels, leading to cancellation of the flight.

For British Airways, the airline was unable to operate its 10 a.m. flight to London from Abuja until midnight, while its Lagos operations went on smoothly because the airline operated at 12 midnight, beating the 7a.m. to 7p.m. that the airports in Lagos and Abuja are closed to traffic.

Country Manager, British Airways, Mr. Kola Olayinka said most of their passengers are lodged in hotels in Abuja, adding that the strike was taking enormous toll on their operations.

Spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic Airways, Mrs. Wuraola Oduntan said protesters got into the terminal building of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and stopped all the airlines’ staff from checking-in their passengers.

Just like on Tuesday, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos was deserted. Save for few passengers that turned up for their flights which never operated, the airport was devoid of its usual bustle and  hustle nature.

Virgin Atlantic Airways, Emirates, Arik Air, Ethiopian, Air France and KLM which hitherto thought they would be allowed to operate, were disappointed when the industry unions prevented them from checking in passengers for flights outside the country.

-Nigeria Breaking News

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By Wole Shadare 

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