By Chinelo Obogo
Aeronautical allowances of workers of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is to be enhanced to reflect the economic situation in the country.
Its Managing Director, Capt Fola Akinkoutu, who disclosed this in his remark at the 50th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in Abuja, said NAMA was worried over the death rate recorded among ATCs in the last few years in the country, saying the management is alive to its responsibility in areas of workers’ welfare.
Akinkoutu explained that a lot has been done by the present management of NAMA, adding that in a bid to address the issue of shortage of ATCs, NAMA converted non-technical staff in the system to technical staff while most of the retired ATCs were also engaged after their retirement
He also disclosed that government has provided funds for the upgrade of safe towers in the country adding that NAMA is unrelenting to achieve its goals.
The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Yadudu, in his good will message, acknowledged the contributions and the role of ATCs and urged stakeholders to celebrate them. Yadudu noted that the hallmark of Aviation is safety, stressing that no safety, no aviation industry. The FAAN boss also highlighted the need for effective communication and between the cockpit and aircraft.
In his welcome address, the President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro, said that the aviation industry is gradually coming back on track from the scare of the COVID pandemic and called on the government to reciprocate the sacrifices made by the service providers and safety personnel in the aviation industry as appropriate, by looking into the various challenges in the industry with a view to finding lasting solutions to them.
He reiterated their May Day call for the review of the ATC scheme of service as the ATC Scheme of Service was an issue that has lingered for too long, adding that it will not be a bad idea if the issue is revisited with a view to drawing the attention of the relevant authorities to have it resolved once and for all.
“NATCA Executive Council took it up head-on and we sincerely cannot shy away from admitting that identified solution to the problem required several journey and special interventions. The numerous efforts deployed to the issue almost yielded the required result when a draft was agreed by all parties at a final meeting. However, in a twist of situation some of the agreements were wrongly captured in the document released to NAMA as ATC Scheme of Service. This came to us as a rude shock, and we have reacted to it accordingly in a letter to the Ministry of Aviation and other relevant agencies of government.
“We raised these concerns purely in the interest of justice, equity and fairness. The roles of every professional in NAMA and the nature of licenses held by them are clearly stated in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR) Part 11. We therefore urge NAMA management and all the relevant unions to urgently address this issue.
“Going by the recommendation of a committee set up by NCAA as captured in the communiqué released at the last AGM, NATCA in conjunction with the Directorate has formally requested an upward review of the age validity for ATC license holder from 60 to 65 years. This has been granted by the DG and we sincerely thank the Authority for it,” he said.