Fear Over Nationwide Flight Cancellations As Aviation Unions Shut Down NCAA

The threatened shutdown of the operations of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by labour unions in Nigeria’s civil aviation sector could lead to nationwide flight cancellations given the safety oversight functions of the NCAA in aircraft movements at airports within and outside the country.

The labour unions had threatened to shut down the operations of the NCAA today following the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government to address some issues affecting the agency’s organogram, autonomy as well as staff remunerations and welfare.

Daily Sun reports that in the ultimatum, given at the end of their congress held at the headquarters of the NCAA at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), in Lagos, representatives of  the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE);  and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) accused the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, of  interfering with the management of the NCAA, failing to inaugurate its Board of Directors against the directive of President Buhari, and also tampering with its organogram as well as stalling the promotion of some staff.

A statement by the unions on Tuesday said the ultimatum expired on Monday May 20, 2019, thus necessitating a nationwide strike by NCAA workers  from today.

The statement read in part, “As you are aware, our unions issued a 7 days ultimatum to the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation) and NCAA over sundry issues. At this time, the Federal Ministry of Transport (Aviation) has completely neglected the ultimatum while the NCAA has reacted with only half-hearted measures. This means that no single item on the demands list has been ameliorated.

“Having therefore exhausted all efforts and patience on the issues, we are left with no other option, our unions hereby direct all staff of NCAA nationwide to commence an indefinite industrial action with effect from 0500hrs on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The situation will remain so until the following issues are completely resolved.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has barred the International Air Transport Association (IATA) from granting accreditation and transacting business with travel agencies that are not registered with the Nigerian regulator.

Spokesman for the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, told journalists in Lagos yesterday that the move became necessary for the country to check-mate the activities of fake travel agents. In recent months, there have been complaints of a rise in cases of Nigerian prospective travellers abroad defrauded by fake travel agents with industry stakeholders heaping the blame on poor regulations by the NCAA.

But according to Adurogboye, getting all travel agents to register first with the NCAA (even before getting IATA licence) was one step that would go a long way in sanitising the activities of the downstream section of the aviation industry in which the travel and tour agencies were the major players.

“The NCAA is taking concerted steps to instil sanity and orderliness into the operations of travel agencies in Nigeria,” said Adurogboye.

“On the strength of this, IATA has been directed not to accredit forthwith any travel agency without NCAA’s Certificate of Registration. All IATA accredited agents have 60 days within which to register and obtain NCAA’s Certificate of Registration. This ultimatum commenced as from May, 7, 2019,” Adurogboye said.

According to him, the NCAA will also be collaborating with IATA to provide a robust regulatory oversight on the aviation downstream sector where travel agencies are major investors.

Adurogboye said the insinuations in certain quarters of the absence of legislation concerning the registration of travel agencies were misguided as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) confers power on the NCAA to register and issue certificates to travel agencies without which no travel agency shall operate in Nigeria.

(Daily Sun)

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