Hundreds of passengers are stranded at Lagos, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS). Passengers have become stranded as ground personnel working for the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCo) have gone on strike. As the strike continues, so does the number of disrupted flights leading to a dramatic increase in stranded passengers. If the strike continues throughout the day, the number of stranded passengers will likely reach into the thousands.

Ongoing strike

The strike began early this morning when hundreds of employees of the NAHCo staged a walkout refusing to work. The workers claim their actions are the consequence of insufficient wages. Workers on strike have shared with passengers that they will not return to work until their demands have been met, regardless of how many flights are disrupted or passengers are displaced.

Leadership at the NAHCo has stated that it is currently working to resolve the issue. Company management has reportedly begun talks with its workers in an attempt to resolve the situation and have the workers return to work. If these strikes persist throughout the day, dozens of additional flights may likely be canceled, further increasing the number of displaced passengers.

The NAHCo staffs various ground service roles by providing various airlines with check-in counter agents, baggage handlers, and gate agents. With many of these workers going on strike, many airlines operating out of LOS are seeing major flight disruptions. The NAHCo provides these services for multiple international carriers, including Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic. Of these airlines, Virgin Atlantic seems to have been affected the most by the strikes.

Stranded passengers

As of this morning, hundreds of Virgin Atlantic passengers were stranded inside the terminal at LOS awaiting departure. Many of these passengers are university students traveling back home to the UK. Because of this, the airline has been receiving questions and complaints from two continents concerning the disrupted flights. The airline has been left in a difficult situation as much of it is beyond its control. While Virgin Atlantic flies to LOS, it does not have its own teams of ground crew there. Meaning that it is entirely reliant on its contract company NAHCo to ensure its operations get underway.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350

Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Following the start of the strikes, Virgin Atlantic’s General Sales Agent, John Adebanjo, shared that the disruptions had begun to cause panic among the stranded passengers. He also shared that the airline was optimistic that the passengers would soon be allowed to board their flights as the airline was working vigorously to resolve the issue. A Spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic told Simple Flying the following concerning the situation,

“We’re aware of unplanned industrial action by Lagos ground handler staff today, 23rd January. The strike action has now been suspended and services have resumed. Our flight, the VS412 has a small delay, but we expect customers will complete their journey soon. We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Despite the reassurance of the airline, several passengers have expressed frustration over the current situation. Many have stated that they have not heard any word from the airline as it has yet to reach out to them. While these passengers wait in confusion and uncertainty, the number of canceled flights continues to climb as the day progresses. This is leading to further disruptions dragging in additional airlines as their flights are also canceled.

What do you think of this strike leaving thousands of passengers stranded at LOS? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Leadership

  • Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport

    Lagos Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:


    Christophe Penninck

    Passenger Count :
    7,290,530 (2018)

    Runways :
    18R/36L – 3,900m (12,794ft) |18L/36R – 2,743m (9,000ft)

  • Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1041 (2)

    Virgin Atlantic

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport

    Year Founded:

    Shai Weiss

    United Kingdom


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