Over 200 passengers of Arik Air were stopped from entering the departure hall of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Wednesday by angry aviation union members.
The passengers were directed to converge at the crowded ticketing counter of the airline despite passionate pleas by some of the travellers to the unionists.
Some of the angry union members stationed themselves at the way leading to the departure hall for outbound passengers, they checked the tickets of travellers who made their way to the departure hall and those with Arik Air tickets were turned back.
Our correspondent gathered that the union members arrived at the airport early and commenced the exercise of denying Arik Air passengers entry to the departure hall as early as 6.30am on Wednesday.
The situation dragged for several hours, a developmnt that forced the carrier to suspend its flight services on Wednesday.
Most of the affected passengers felt dejected as many of them were seen trying to catch another flight with a different airline, while others left.
“This is painful and I feel dejected already. Must we suffer this much in Nigeria? Can’t unions and businesses in their sphere of operations settle amicably without putting innocent citizens through untold hardship for once in this country? This is sad!,’ were the words of an affected traveller who simply gave his name as Greg.
The unions, it was gathered, were demanding that the airline should clear its about N12.5bn debt owed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
Similarly, the union members also stopped the carrier from carrying out its operations at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
This was confirmed by the airline’s spokesperson, Mr. Banji Ola, who stated that the FAAN workers’ union on Wednesday morning blocked the operations of Arik Air at the GAT, Lagos.