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Flight delayed, passengers stranded as traffic controllers protest poor working conditions. 

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Abiola Seun 

Several passengers were yesterday stranded at various airports across the country as flights were delayed and suspended due to three hours flow control declared by the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA) over demise of one of its members, Aniekan Inuk Effiong in Abuja on Monday.

Recall that NATCA had declared flow control over poor current working environment and conditions of Controllers.

It was gathered that the flow control by the ATCs which commenced from 0600UTC to 0900UTC on Tuesday was to register their displeasure at the current working environment of controllers affected airlines who put out statements to alert the public on their predicament.

However, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), said normal flight operations have been restored after NATCA suspended their strike action.

But, despite the strike suspension, airlines such as Air Peace, Dana, Green Africa were all affected by the flow control action embarked upon by NATCA as flights in and out of all the nation’s airports were disrupted.

For instance, Air Peace in a statement told passengers that due to the ATC strike, all its domestic flights would experience delays while some will be cancelled due to sunset limitations, which was beyond the airline’s control.

It stressed that the industrial action is slowing down traffic flow as departure is paced by 20 minutes on the domestic flight.

Dana on its part, said it would do its best to alleviate the delays and it understands the negative impact the unannounced strike might have caused its passenger’s schedule while apologizing for the havoc it has wreaked

Green Africa Airways flight scheduled to depart Lagos for Akure at 1.34 pm was first cancelled, then rescheduled to 4.45 pm and then another notice of delay was sent to customers.

“Flight 318 from QOW to AKR scheduled for 23 Nov 2021 04:45:00 has been cancelled. This is due to an ongoing industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause you.”, the message to passengers read.

“Please be notified that your flight 307 from AKR to LOS will be delayed due to an industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers at some major Airports in the country today.”, another message reads.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), however, said normal flight has been restored after the NATCA suspended their strike action.

NAMA in a press statement signed by the  Managing Director, Fola Akinkoutu and a copy made available to newsmen, said the suspension of the strike action will pave way for a follow-up meeting between NAMA’s management, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the association, scheduled to hold later on Tuesday.

The statement reads, “NAMA hereby wishes to inform the general public that following the intervention of NAMA management, normalcy has been restored, as the Flow Control, earlier embarked upon by members of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association today, the 23rd of November, 2021 has been suspended.

“The above suspension is to pave way for a follow-up meeting between NAMA management, Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the association, scheduled to hold later today.”

“Meanwhile, NAMA hereby wishes to reassure airspace users and the general public that the Nigerian airspace remains safe for seamless and economic air travel. We also regret any inconveniences caused earlier today.”

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