A total of 637 Europeans were on Thursday evacuated through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
While 238 Germans were evacuated by Lufthansa, Air France evacuated 399 French and Dutch citizens; 142 were earlier picked from Cotonou, Benin Republic and 257 others joined the flight at the MMIA.
The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has asked airlines and other service providers in the industry not to abandon their employees during the period of uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Chairman of the committee, Nnolim Nnaji, on Thursday said he was disturbed by the memo issued to its workers by Max Air to the effect that it would not pay them salaries for the period of two-week lockdown directed by the Federal Government.
According to him, the memo which went viral further stressed that the state of no pay will extend if the situation persists.
“My major worry is that other organisations may do same if care is not taken,” Nnaji said.
He urged the management of the airline to reconsider its position by retracing its action and asked other organisations in the sector to see the trying period as a time of sacrifice and show extreme compassion for their employees.
“I am aware that elsewhere, governments are providing palliatives for employers of labour to cushion the impact of this pandemic but because of our peculiar circumstances, the Federal Government may not offer such at the moment,” he said.
Nnaji, however, said he was optimistic that some form of relief would definitely come at the end of the day to assist the airlines.
He urged the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to step in and hold talks with the various stakeholders in the industry to avoid ripple effects of Max Air’s action.
Nnaji, who represents Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency of Enugu State, also called for understanding among the people and leaders of the South-East region over the aborted reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu before Easter as planned.
He said the setback was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which had forced the workers of both the contractor and consultants handling the project out of the site.