Monday , 3 October 2022

ATC’s demise: NATCA issues NAMA two weeks ultimatum to fix poor working conditions or risk industrial disharmony

FOLLOWING the demise of  Aniekan Inuk Effing at Abuja Airport Air Traffic Controllers have resolved to embark on a three (3) hours flow control forgot two days, 23rd and 24th November, 2021 from 0600UTC to 0900UTC to register its displeasure at the current working environment of Controllers and call on relevant authorities to quickly address its concerns without further delay.

A flow control is a traffic flow management technique used in order to regulate the rate at which aircraft enter congested resources such as airport airspace to a level no greater than the resource can accept.

National Association of Air Traffic Controllers ( NATCA) in a statement issued after an emergency meeting following what it described as painful and avoidable exit of a colleague  decried that ATCs have lost nine(9) colleagues in two years following Nigerian Airspace Management Agency(NAMA)’s reluctance to address the glaring challenges.

In an 11-point  statement of demand to NAMA management signed by National President, Abayomi Agoro and General Secretary, Rev. Agbonlahor Felix, the Controllers have given NAMA a two (2) week ultimatum to address the issues after which industrial harmony cannot be guaranteed.

The 11-point statement read,” 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.

“That ATC Operational rooms are provided with adequate and quality ATC operational chairs and headsets.

“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.

“Approve and implement a 500% upward review of the annual ATC medical allowance to enable ATCOs carry out comprehensive medical assessment among others. That all Air Traffic controllers be enrolled in an enhanced comprehensive health and life insurance schemes that will meet their health needs. 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.

“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 level for over seven (7) 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. 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.

According to the NATCA leadership, the consequences of failure to  meet these conditions on or before two weeks would be severe.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) yesterday announced the passing of Mr Aniekan Inuk Effiong, an Assistant General Manager, Operations and air traffic controller with the agency, at Abuja station.

Mr Effiong reported to duty at the Abuja Approach Radar Control (TRACON) on the 21st of November 2021 (yesterday) at 6pm without any sign of illness whatsoever. He was to close by 7am the next day (today). However, at about 4am this morning, he experienced difficulty in breathing. FAAN ambulance was called to evacuate him to the nearest medical facility. He was immediately taken to the Air Force base clinic where he died.

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