Air transport was chaotic today as airlines kept passengers waiting at terminal halls endlessly. Across the country.
A passenger booked on Air Peace flight from Lagos for Abuja at 10 am was still waiting at 5.43pm. Officials of the airline said the flight to Abuja will depart at 6.15pm.
The flight supervisor at Air Peace blamed the chaotic situation on the disruption of flight schedules by air traffic controllers who were protesting the death of a colleague, Mr Aniekan Effiong at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on Monday.
All airports experienced operational crisis as the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers directed all-controlling units at airports nationwide to operate ‘flow control’, which means that flights will be delayed with many passengers getting stranded across the airports. It was unclear how long the action will last and if international flights will be affected.
A statement by the association read: “Our noble profession met yesterday and discussed extensively the state of ATC operations vis-a-vis our collective survival within the system. After deliberating until the wee hours of this morning, the council has resolved as follows: That the ATC system and operations in Nigeria have been skewed and operated with complete disregard to the well-being of ATCOs.
“That the managers of the system have consistently refused to act in good faith in order to reverse the ugly situation, resulting in one death too many. That despite ALL entreaties from the EXCO, no action seems to be initiated to resolve any of the issues, hence, we are constrained to use any other means at our disposal to register and send out our frustration with the system.
“That commencing from 0600 UTC today, 23rd November 2021 ALL ATC units nationwide should operate flow control. That ALL departures should be spaced at 20 minutes intervals. That ALL international flights are exempt. That ALL ATCOs should endeavour to be on high alert should there be a need to escalate this exercise beyond flow control, we are ready to further such actions. That this exercise will be for two days and will be strictly executed at the four major airports with strict coordination from adjacent aerodromes before any start up is issued. The EXCO therefore solicits for your maximum cooperation in order to get our message out loud and clear.”
Many flights were negatively affected and passengers were left stranded and confused at the airports.
There was no reaction from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria at press time.
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