Thousands of passengers across Nigeria are presently stranded at airports, as  the nation’s leading airline, Arik Air suspended all domestic flights unexpectedly.

Arik Air,  on Thursday morning announced that it is suspending all its domestic operations indefinitely over the “persistent hostility of the Ministry of Aviation and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) management.”

The airline operates an average of 120 flights a day and is currently the leading carrier in Nigeria with 63% share of the market capacity.

The most affected passengers are currently stranded in airports in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt and many others along the 20 domestic routes operated by the airline.

The unconfirmed claim by airline for suspending its local operations is reported to differ from claims that it was officially shut by the FAAN, over an alleged N18 billion debt the airline owes the aviation authority.

This development is coming just a few hours after the Senate Committee on Aviation on Wednesday recommended that Arik Air should be allowed to serve as the nation’s national flag carrier, until the Aviation ministry is able to work out modalities of securing another national carrier.

The airline on Tuesday announced in a statement that it has now conveyed 10 million passengers since 2006 when it commenced operations in the Nigerian air ways. This year alone Arik has transported over 1.5 million passengers across its expanding network of 20 domestic, 10 regional and three long-haul destinations.”

The statement further revealed that it has carried 1.5 million passengers across network of 20 domestic routes it flies in the country.

More details to come soon.