Africa

Strike stops flights of biggest Nigerian airline, union says

Union officials say a strike by unpaid workers has halted flights of Nigeria's biggest airline, stranding thousands of passengers days before Christmas.

Ahmed Roland Maikudi of the pilots association says Arik Air operations halted before dawn Tuesday. He says pilots have not been paid for up to five months.

Officials of Arik Air, which flies more than 100 domestic and international flights daily, could not immediately be reached for comment. The airline has been struggling for weeks with delayed and cancelled flights usually blamed on fuel shortages.

Two other Nigerian airlines suspended operations weeks ago, and two international carriers recently stopped flying to the country.

Africa's biggest economy is struggling in a recession caused by low oil prices and a massive shortage of foreign currency.