Air traffic controllers protest colleague’s death

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The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has embarked on “flow control” for two days in protest of the death of one of its members, Aniekan Effiong Inuk.

Inuk reportedly 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 action of the air traffic controllers resulted in delayed and cancelled flights at the airport on Tuesday.

NATCA said that in the last two years, it 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.

“Hence, Air Traffic Controllers are embarking on a three 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 said in a statement signed by its president its Abayomi Agoro, and secretary-general, Agbonlahor Felix.

The association demanded the provision of standard medical emergency kits at all air traffic control (ATC) units and a yearly Health Safety Environment training programs for air traffic control officers.

Other demands by the association are listed as follows:

“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 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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