Air Peace to Recall Some Sacked Pilots as Sirika Intervenes


By Kasim Sumaina

Respite has come the way of some of the pilots recently sacked by the management of Air Peace, as many of them would soon be recalled to their jobs.

This was the fall-out of 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) in his office yesterday.

In the verbal agreement reached after a dialogue that was held in Abuja, 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.

In their presentation, NAAPE, led by its Chairman, Galadima Abednego, said 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 as a union, it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, as he further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.

On his own, the Chairman of Air Peace, Onyema, expressed 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 in the sector, but only for them to disappoint him at a time their understanding was needed.

The airline boss, however, commended Sirika for providing the required leadership in the industry, and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.

The Aviation Minister, in his remarks, called for the understanding of everyone, especially the labour unions, over the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.

Sirika, in a statement made available to journalists by the ministry’s Director of Press, James Odaudu, commended 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.