The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, NATCA has blamed the recent death of one of the controllers in Abuja to the absence of operational vehicle to move him to a hospital in record time.
Irked by this situation, their challenges of many years yet to be addressed has forced the body to take drastic actions to get the listening ears of the Management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA and the government.
To this end, NATCA has commenced a 2 day warning strike with flow control, that is delay flights for 30 minutes before given clearance for take off across airports in the country excepting international flights.
And if this action embarked on fails to get the NAMA management prompt action, the NATCA President, Mr. Abayomi Agoro and the General Secretary, Felix Agbonlahor say, they will no longer guarantee industrial harmony.
In a press release after an emergency meeting NATCA, says, “Hence, Air Traffic Controllers are embarking on a three (3) hours flow control for two days, 23rd and 24th November, 2021 from 0600UTC to 0900UTC to register our displeasure and call the attention of relevant authorities and the public to quickly address our concerns without further delay”.
“Managers of the system have consistently refused to act in good faith in order to reverse the ugly situation, resulting in one-death too many, despite ALL entreaties from the EXCO, no action seems to be initiated to resolve any of the issues, hence we are constrained to use any other means at our disposal to register and send out our frustration with the system”.
The Association demands, as a matter of urgency, that NAMA management and relevant authorities should immediately do the following:
1. That fully dedicated operational vehicles be provided to Air Traffic Control for the four major airports in Nigeria (Abuja Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano) and to any other airport where ATC operational vehicle is critically needed.
2. That ATC Operational rooms are provided with adequate and quality ATC operational chairs and headsets.
3. That at least 500 ATCOs be recruited to address the critical dearth in ATC manpower within the next two years starting with 70 recruits within the next three (3) months.
4. Approve and implement a 500% upward review of the annual ATC medical allowance to enable ATCOs carry out comprehensive medical assessment among others.
5. That ALL Air Traffic controllers be enrolled in an enhanced comprehensive health and life insurance schemes that will meet their health needs.
6. That a standard medical emergency kits be provided at all ATC units and a yearly Health Safety Environment (HSE) training programs for ATCOs be conducted.
7. 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.
8. That the staff deployed to ATC from other departments who have been stagnated on the same grade level for over seven (7) years be placed on their appropriate grade levels having fulfilled all requirements to be Air Traffic Controllers.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. That the appropriate management should immediately liaise with the Federal Ministry of Aviation and relevant government bodies to ensure ATCOs retire with their full monthly salary as pension.