NAMA’s intervention: Air controllers suspend protest over colleague’s death

Fola Akinkuotu, Managing Director, NAMA

The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association has suspended a two-day flow control embarked upon by its members to protest against the untimely death of air controllers especially that Aniekan Effiong Inu who died on Monday while on duty at Abuja Airport.

Flow control is a practice of holding aircraft on the ground in anticipation of congestion at destination airspace or airports.

The association suspended the protest following the intervention meeting between the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the association held yesterday.

According to NAMA, following the intervention of NAMA management, normalcy was restored, as the Flow Control, earlier embarked upon by members of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association on the 23rd of November, 2021 was suspended.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) reassured airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace remains safe for seamless and economic air travel.

Meanwhile, Abayomi Agoro, NATCA President, and Agbonlahor Felix, NATCA Secretary-General, in a statement on Tuesday, said they were embarking on flow control between November 23 and 24 to register their displeasure over lack of poor working conditions.

They said in the last two years, the association has lost nine members on active service “due to stress-related health complications which seem associated with poor working conditions and inadequate staffing”.

“Several appeals to management and other stakeholders in the industry and inactions by appropriate managers on communiqués from the Association’s past Annual General Meetings had failed to address the issues,” they said.

“Hence, Air Traffic Controllers are embarking on a three (3) hours flow control for two days, 23rd and 24th November 2021 from 0600 UTC to 0900 UTC to register our displeasure and call the attention of relevant authorities and the public to quickly address our concerns without further delay.”

The association made some demands that must be met within two weeks.

“That standard medical emergency kits be provided at all ATC units and a yearly Health Safety Environment (HSE) training programs for ATCOs be conducted,” NATCA said.

“That all ATC communication facilities and equipment, most especially, the VHF radios and SATCOM links be holistically rectified in other to address the perennial communication problems encountered in Nigerian airspace.

“That the staff deployed to ATC from other departments who have been stagnated on the same grade levels for over seven years be placed on their appropriate grade levels having fulfilled all requirements to be air traffic controllers.

“That all appropriate managements should immediately approve and implement an upward review of the remunerations of contract ATCOs to make for them to earn Aerodrome and approach rating allowances.

“That the appropriate management should immediately liaise with the Federal Ministry of Aviation and other relevant government bodies to correct the anomalies observed in the recently approved ATC Scheme of Service to allow for implementation in a bid to eliminate the stagnation of air traffic controllers.”

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