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Nigerian Authority Mediates Truce with Turkish Airlines to Fly Stranded Passengers After Labor Dispute

Nigerian aviation authority brokers temporary truce with Turkish Airlines to address labor dispute.

A Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Katie Zera)

A labor dispute between Turkish Airlines and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has caused significant disruption at Nigerian airports this week. The situation, which began with allegations of unfair dismissal by the airline, has stranded hundreds of passengers and highlighted ongoing tensions between foreign companies and Nigerian labor unions.

On Tuesday, NUATE, along with its parent union, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), accused Turkish Airlines of dismissing seven employees for their involvement in union activities. The unions further claimed the airline planned additional terminations based on union affiliation. In response, NUATE and NLC took the drastic step of shutting down Turkish Airlines operations in Lagos and Abuja. This effectively halted all Turkish Airlines flights to and from Nigeria, leaving over 300 passengers booked for Istanbul on May 21 with no option to depart.

The sudden shutdown caused chaos at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, with stranded passengers facing uncertainty and frustration. The situation attracted the attention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the regulatory body responsible for overseeing air travel in Nigeria.

NCAA Steps In

Recognizing the need to resolve the disruption and assist stranded passengers, the NCAA stepped in to mediate between the parties. On Thursday, representatives from the regulatory body, including Acting Director General Michael Achimugu, met with officials from both the airline and NUATE. The resulting agreement, while temporary, allowed Turkish Airlines to resume flights for passengers specifically booked on May 21, both inbound and outbound from Nigeria.

“At the intervention of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, as well as the Nigerian Police Force and Directorate of State Security, Airports Command, the Congress has decided to allow the passengers stranded at the Lagos and Istanbul airports… to be airlifted by Turkish Airlines,” said NLC Lagos State Council Vice Chairman Olabisi Idowu. “This decision is purely on humanitarian grounds.”

However, the truce is unlikely to be long-lasting. Idowu emphasized that the picketing will resume once the airlift is complete. The union remains committed to securing the reinstatement of the dismissed workers, and the underlying labor dispute remains unresolved.

“The picketing exercise other than as allowed above shall remain firmly in place until all the demands of NLC are fully met,” Idowu reiterated.

While the airlift provides some relief for stranded passengers, it does not address the core issue of the dismissed workers. It remains to be seen if Turkish and NUATE can reach a permanent solution that addresses the union’s concerns and prevents further disruption to air travel.

Tolga Karadeniz


  • Tolga Karadeniz

    Tolga is a dedicated aviation enthusiast with years of experience in the industry. From an early age, his fascination with aviation went beyond a mere passion for travel, evolving into a deliberate exploration of the complex mechanics and engineering behind aircraft. As a writer, he aims to share insights , providing readers with a view into the complex inner workings of the aviation industry.

    View all posts

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