Passengers stranded at MMIA as NATCA begins warning strike

As Nigeria’s Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) began a warning strike on Thursday over welfare issues, hundreds of intending passengers were stranded at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

However, the association says it may call off the strike later in the day.

Some of the passengers told at Ikeja that there airlines ought to have informed them of the development when they observed it.

An Abuja-bound passenger, Mr Yusuf Kazeem, told our correspondent that he was not aware of the strike until he and his colleague arrived at the airport to board their flight.

Kazeem said the striking workers should have made their intentions public earlier so that intending passengers would have thought of alternatives.

“I called my airline and I was told to hold on that the flight will be going. So, that’s why I was still waiting.

“The airline later sent us a text message that it will resume flight by noon and pleaded for our patience,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Emmanuel Adewale, another passenger, said the association embarking on strikes was becoming too frequent.

Adewale advised the government to attend to the requests of the association’s members so as to stave off this unhealthy development.

Mrs Stella Oyewole said that government should approve to the demands of the association to curtail the frequent strike by the air traffic controllers.

She said that air traffic controllers played strategic role in the aviation sector, adding that if they were not adequately catered for, it could have negative effect on the sector.

Mr Banji Olawode, National Secretary of NATCA, who confirmed the strike in Lagos, however, declined further comments on the issue.

He said that the association had initially informed the Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) the employers of NATCA members of the development.

Olawode assured intending passengers that were scheduled to travel on international routes from Lagos on Thursday that the strike would not affect international flight operations.

Mrs Jumoke Adetona, the Acting General Manager, NAMA, also confirmed the warning strike by NATCA.

Adetona said that the agency would meet with the association, adding that before the end of day the strike would be over.

She said that a statement would be issued concerning the strike.

NAN reports that activities were paralysed at the two terminals of the local airport in Lagos as most of the intending passengers were seen going back home.

It also reported that the association had earlier in the year embarked on a strike over welfare issues.

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