SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 12 – The Minister of Aviation, Had Sirika, has called for understanding after the management of Air Peace Airlines agreed to recall a sizable number of the 70 pilots sacked recently due to the impact of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.
This decision was reached after an intervention meeting called by the minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, between the airline management and the leadership of the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) on Tuesday.
The spokesperson of the ministry, James Odaudu said “in the verbal agreement reached after a dialogue that was held in a very friendly environment, chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema acceded to the minister’s appeal for the recall of the maximum number of pilots that the airline can accommodate without going under.
“Onyema expressed his sadness and disappointment over what he called the ingratitude of some of the airline’s pilots, after everything done to make them comfortable on their jobs.”
He recalled how Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots and an equal number of aircraft engineers, giving its staff the best remuneration package within the sector only for them to disappoint at a time their understanding was needed.
He however commended Senator Hadi Sirika for providing the required leadership to the industry and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.
In their presentation, NAAPE, led by its chairman, Galadima Abednego said that some missteps could have been made in the course of the standoff between the airline and the union and appealed to the minister to intervene in order to resolve the impasse.
He said that as a union, it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, and further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.
The Aviation minister in his remarks called for the understanding of everyone, especially the Labour unions, of the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.
He commended Chief Onyema for his enormous contributions in developing the industry, but appealed to him to recall the maximum number of the sacked pilots that the airline can comfortably accommodate in the prevailing circumstances to which airline operator agreed.
He called on all stakeholders in the aviation industry to put all hands on deck in ensuring a rapid recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic