Flights delayed as aviation group protests colleague’s death

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Air traffic controllers attached to airport towers across the country have explained why they embarked on a two-day warning strike yesterday.

They said their action was meant to protest the death of one of their colleagues, Mr. Aniekan Effiong Inuk, on Monday in Abuja.

The aviation workers said the warning strike was among activities for drawing the attention of the government to their plight.

A statement yesterday by the National President of National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Abayomi Agoro, listed the demands of the union.

It reads: “That commencing from 0600 UTC (6 a.m) today, November 23, 2021, ATC units nationwide should operate flow control. That all departures should be spaced at a 20-minute interval. That all international flights are exempt.

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“That all ATCOs should endeavour to be on high alert should there be a need to escalate this exercise beyond flow control, we are ready to further such actions.

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“That this exercise will be for two days and will be strictly executed at the four major airports with strict coordination from adjacent aerodromes before any start up is issued.”

Also, in a statement, titled: An SOS on Poor Air Traffic Control Working Conditions and Staffing, Agoro said NATCA rose from an emergency meeting conveyed over “the tragic, painful and avoidable exit of Inuk in the early hours of Monday, November 22, 2021” and tabled a number of issues for appropriate authorities to consider.

The union leader said the council recalled that in the last two years, NATCA had lost nine of its members on active service due to stress-related health complications associated with poor working conditions and inadequate staffing.

Also, the NAMA management said it had intervened in the matter to restore normalcy.

NAMA Managing Director Captain Fola Akinkuotu said the Flow Control, earlier embarked upon by members of the NATCA had been suspended.

In a statement, he said: “The above suspension is to pave the way for a follow-up meeting between NAMA management, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the association, scheduled to hold later today.

“Meanwhile, the NAMA hereby wishes to reassure airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace remains safe for seamless and economic air travel. We also regret any inconveniences caused earlier today.”




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