Nigeria’s top airline to resume domestic flights Sunday

September 23, 2012
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Arik identifies itself as the largest airline in West Africa/XINHUA-File
LAGOS, Sept 23 – Nigeria’s biggest airline Arik Air will resume domestic flights on Sunday after resolving a dispute with aviation officials, a statement said.

The commercial carrier grounded all its domestic flights on Thursday after workers from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) locked a boarding gate, blocking checked-in passengers from accessing their flight in Lagos.

Arik accused the FAAN staff of acting on instructions from senior aviation officials who had grievances with the company.

The dispute was resolved following a series of meetings with aviation officials, said a company statement issued Saturday.

“Normal domestic flight operations will resume…tomorrow,” said the statement. “We are happy to put what happened behind us.”

The statement did not go into specifics, but Arik has in the past charged that the company’s difficulties stemmed from “the airline’s inability to meet the personal demands of certain influential person(s) in the industry.”

Arik identifies itself as the largest airline in West Africa.

The sudden grounding of its domestic flights stranded thousands of passengers around Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.

Nigerian domestic air travel had already been complicated following Air Nigeria’s decision to suspend operations earlier this month.

Dana Air has not yet resumed flights two weeks after Nigeria lifted a suspension imposed on the commercial carrier after one of its planes crashed in Lagos in June. The crash killed at least 159 people, making it one of the country’s worst air disasters.

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