Just in: Air traffic controllers threaten to shut down Kano Airport


By Ismail Auwal

Flight operations at Mallam Aminu Kano Airport (MAKIA) my face disruptions on Monday if the dispute between Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is not resolved at the end of today.

The Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have threatened to shut down air navigation services for flights in and out of MAKIA if power supply is not restored to NAMA facilities and staff accommodations.

According to reports, FAAN has disconnected power supply to some navigational aids in July on a claim of faulty circuit which has not been repaired till date.

On Friday, FAAN disconnected power supply to all NAMA staff accommodations due to non-payment of electricity bills.

Due to what it termed the need “to safeguard safety, security and efficiency of air traffic operations at MAKIA”, NATCA issued a statement threatening to withdraw air traffic control services at MAKIA by Monday morning.

When contacted by SAHELIAN TIMES the chairman of NATCA Kano branch, Mallam Shehu Yahaya, confirmed that the association is fully prepared to shutdown the provision of air traffic control services to all aircraft flying into or out of MAKIA if the power is not fully restored.

When asked to comment further he said, ” this is all I can say for now.”

The National President  of NATCA, Mr. Abayomi Agoro also in an interview with our correspondant confirmed the tussle between the two aviation agencies and the possibilityof disruptions of flight at MAKIA.

However, he said that they are doing everything possible to settle the dispute.

“From our end we are trying hard to see that the two bodies begin to see themselves as sisters not as rivals,” he said.

Agoro also noted that the power outage also has repercussions on the safety of flights.

The paper finds out that NATCA members are angry that they have been kept in total darkness for the past 48 hours.

A NATCA member who did not want his name mentioned, alleged FAAN, through its airport manager in Kano, is unilaterally undermining other stakeholders, particularly NAMA, by denying them electricity supply.

He warned that there will be a total shut down of provisions of air navigation and safety services in Kano over what he described as “an irresponsible action by FAAN,” assuring that NATCA will carry out the action.

“It’s not a threat but we must once and for all forestall FAAN’s intolerance and undignified approach to civil aviation safety standards and recommended practice”.

“How can a sister agency under same governance be acting in a manner as if there’s no other authority or internal mechanism to adjudicate”.

“Now he has disconnected both NAMA facilities and its staff residing in the quarters.

“As we speak our people had been kept in perpetual darkness without any justification.

“If by Monday nothing is done to restore back the electricity, we will take action,” he said.

When contacted, the Kano airport manager, Alhaji Gambo Aboki Abubakar, did not respond to calls and messages by our correspondant.

A source familiar with the situation has however, stated that the two bodies have been at odds for several years over power bills.

He asserted that the grievances at the time were that NAMA was refusing to pay the power bills that had accumulated over the years, despite the fact that FAAN continued to send the bills on a regular basis.

“The argument advanced by NAMA at the time was that it also provides free services to the airport users that FAAN does not pay for.”

According to the source, if the dispute is not resolved, there will be no flights at Kano Airport tomorrow (Monday).

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