Senate orders Lufthansa to remit N2.19 billion to government coffers

The Senate has ordered the German national carrier, Lufthansa Airline to pay N2.19 billion, being the amount of royalty accrued to the federal government from its flight operations from 2009 to October 2011.

Chairman Senate committee on aviation, Senator Hope Uzodima gave the directive at a meeting between the committee and aviation professionals.

The committee at the meeting, learnt that Lufthansa was flying 14 frequencies to the country instead of four passenger and three cargo flights allowed by the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA).

Director of Air Transport in the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. Hassan Musa told the committee that he wrote the Minister of Aviation to advise the government to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) since Nigeria was not deriving any benefit as agreed.

Members of the committee expressed concern that the MOU signed with Lufthansa in 2008 in which it agrees to train Nigerian pilots and provide equipment at the airports was jettisoned by the airline.

Foreign airlines came under fire last month for the difference of air fares between Nigeria and other African countries.



Hundreds of flights cancelled by German strikes

Airlines cancelled about 450 out of 1,300 flights scheduled at Germany’s largest airport Frankfurt on Tuesday because of warning strikes by ground handlers in a dispute over pay, operator Fraport said.

Passengers stand at a German airline Lufthansa ticket counter during a wage strike by Globe Ground ground personnel at Munich"s international airport March 27, 2012

Ground handlers at airports in Munich, Duesseldorf and Cologne also walked out. They are expected to return to their posts by early afternoon.

Deutsche Lufthansa, which operates a total of about 1,850 flights on a typical day, said it cancelled about 400 of its flights planned for Tuesday, in line with its expectations.

Smaller peer Air Berlin said 23 flights out of the several hundred scheduled would not operate – more than the expected eight cancellations.

More strikes may follow soon.

The head of German services union Verdi, Frank Bsirske, had said on Monday that if warning strikes were not sufficient to get a pay deal moving, the union could take a tougher line in coming weeks.

If the union and employers fail to agree in talks this week, the dispute could go to mediation. Should mediation fail, the union could ballot its members on a broader strike in the second half of April, Bsirske had said.

Verdi is pushing for a 6.5 percent pay rise for around 2 million federal and local public-sector workers, and at least 200 euros more per month.

More than 50 percent of Fraport’s shares are held by the regional state of Hesse and the city of Frankfurt and its ground handlers have public-sector work contracts.

Employers have offered a 3.3 percent rise over a period of 24 months and a one-off payment.