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NATCA lauds aviation minister, seeks better health scheme

Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo

Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has applauded the ongoing efforts of the Honorable Minister of State (Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika to upgrade critical Aviation facilities.

While noting that such move would encourage improved service delivery and air safety, the Association also said it is concerned with the absence of National Health Insurance Scheme for Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers, calling on all agencies concerned to implement this health insurance scheme without further delay;

The professional body made this known in a communiqué issued recently after NATCA 46th Annual General Meeting /Conference held in Uyo on 19th & 20th October 2017;

In the communiqué, NATCA further expressed its supports on the ongoing efforts of the NAMA management in the harmonization of NAMA staff salary with those of sister agencies due to the importance of the agency in the aviation industry.

According to the document jointly signed by NATCA president Victor Eyaru and General Secretary, Banji Olawode they used the occasion of the AGM/Conference with the theme: “Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and Air Traffic Management” to address issues in the aviation industry.

Other important matters affecting Air Traffic Controllers in particular, and Aviation industry in general were equllay deliberated upon, just as they commended the Government and the good people of Akwa Ibom State on the contributions towards the development of aviation.

“NATCA enjoins Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to fast track the implementation of the regulatory framework guiding the operations of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems within the Nigerian airspace in line with international best practices; The Federal Ministry of Transportation should, as a matter of urgency, see to the re-construction of the burnt Maiduguri Control Tower and the completion of the abandoned Kaduna control tower project to ensure the provision of Air Traffic Control services without compromising safety and standards”, the communiqué stated.

The association equally expressed its frustration on the decision by the Federal Government to abandon the taxiway-B and the runway 18L/36R lighting system at MMIA which has negatively impacted on the airport’s air traffic capacity and increased workload on the controllers.

While encouraging the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to speed up the ongoing upgrade of the VHF Radios and other associated communication/surveillance facilities to meet with the required standards for sustenance of air safety, it warned that the frameworks, as a matter of urgency, should be established and implemented for adequate Air Traffic Control staffing by all employers of controllers, particularly NAMA and Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).

It however, pointed out that, subsequently, NAMA should endeavor to recruit a minimum of 40 Air Traffic Controllers annually to bridge the existing manpower deficiencies.

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