Yemen shuts airports amid strike

International airports closed after strike civil aviation authority staff following dispute with finance ministry.

Civil aviation authority workers will continue to strike until their demands are met, an official said [Reuters]

Yemen has shut its international airports after workers at its civil aviation authority went on strike, officials at the transport ministry and airports said.

Monday’s strike was due to a dispute with the finance ministry over the independence of the civil aviation authority, an official at the transport ministry said.

The finance ministry froze the authority’s funds, he said.

“The strike is ongoing until our demands are met,” the official said, declining to be named because he was not authorised to speak publicly to media.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent, reporting from the Yemeni capital capital, said Sanaa, Aden and Mukalla airports had “ceased operations completely”.

He said that a special force was deployed near Sanaa airport to maintain the security amid the strike.

A statement by the authority’ s labour unions, published in local media, said that the interference of the finance ministry in the civil aviation authority’s financial affairs has made it difficult for the body to meet its expenses, including the trains’ operating costs and the staff salaries and benefits.

“While the escalation is unprecedented, the tension between the civil aviation authority and the ministry of finance is not new. It began even during the rule of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh”, our correspondent said.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for almost 33 years, stepped down in February 2012 after nearly a year of mass street protests.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies