All domestic flights in the country are to experience delays of 20 to 30 minutes before take off as air traffic controllers are protesting dearth of manpower, poor working conditions which has led to health complications.
The protest is to last for two days starting today.
In a statement signed by the President and General Secretary, National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, NATCA, Mr. Abayomi Agoro and Felix Agbonlahor say, two weeks ultimatum has been given from today for the Management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA to address this problems and failure to do so, the body will no longer guarantee industrial harmony and safety in the airspace.
According to them, the protest is to register their displeasure over Management non-challant attitude in addressing their challenges despite several letters, communiques and meetings on the matter.
They say, the death of one of the controllers monday in Abuja is not unconnected with the unavailability of operational vehicle to move him to a hospital in record time amongst others, adding that, it is becoming deaths too many with the loss of 9 members between 2020 and 2021.
“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”
The body has therefore listed demands to be meant to avoid a total collapse of flights in the country to include amongst others, provision of dedicated operational vehicles be provided to Air Traffic Control in the four major airports in Nigeria and to any other airport where ATC operational vehicle is critically needed.
Others are, operational chairs and headsets in the operations rooms, provision of Air Traffic Control, ATC communication facilities and equipment, most especially, the VHF radios and SATCOM links to be holistically rectified in other to address the perennial communication problems encountered in Nigerian airspace.
Enrollment of all Air Traffic controllers in an enhanced comprehensive health and life insurance schemes that will meet their health needs and provision of a standard medical emergency kits at all ATC units and a yearly Health Safety Environment (HSE) training programs for ATCOs be conducted.
Approve and implement a 500% upward review of the annual ATC medical allowance to enable ATCOs carry out comprehensive medical assessment.
“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”.
They added, “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”