How do strikes impact Nigeria's airline industry?

Mar 07, 2023|Dumebi Oluwole

Key questions this article answers:

  1. In January, NAHCO embarked on an industrial action that paralysed airport and airline operations in Nigeria for 14 hours. Passengers were stranded, and airlines lost money. Who is NAHCO, and how important are they to Nigeria’s aviation industry?

  2. Since NAHCO’s revenue grew by over 2x in 2022, why did its staff members strike, and are there chances it will happen again?


In aviation, every second counts. So does every penny.

I say this because the slightest mistake (say, poor maintenance of an aircraft) could cost people their lives. At the same time, a minute delay at an airport affecting aircraft landing could lead to airlines incurring losses.

This context is important as it spotlights the need for things to run smoothly in aviation, especially because it is not the most profitable business.

Unfortunately, in January, the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company’s (NAHCO) 14-hour strike disrupted aviation processes. Without notice to airlines and passengers, the strike halted operations across Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja airports. Commuters were stranded as airlines observed the strike. Airpeace reportedly lost ₦500 million, and Qatar Airways flew an empty plane back to Doha, costing the airline money.

If NAHCO’s strike can have such far-reaching business and economic implications, we should understand what NAHCO does and its importance to Nigeria’s aviation sector.

Who is NAHCO?

NAHCO is a ground-handling company that has been present in Nigeria’s aviation industry for over 40 years. Before the company’s privatisation in 2005, the federal government owned NAHCO with a 60% equity stake through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. Foreign airlines like British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France held 40%.

Today, NAHCO is a publicly traded company on the Nigerian stock exchange with

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