Russian made aircraft, Antonov- 72
Aviation unions have succeeded in making a strong case for financial stimulus for there employers to meet the welfare needs of the workforce and also to put various equipment including their operating personnel in top notch so as to achieve safe, secure, and reliable restart of flight operation whenever air travel will recommence
Leadership of three different unions, Nigerian Association of Aircraft Pilots And Engineers, NAAPE, led by its President, Engr. Abednego Galadima, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, led by its President, barrister Illitrus Ahmadu, and the Joint Aviation Trade Union Forum, JATUF, led by its General Secretary, Comrade Nnamdi Hector, were all guests to the Senate Committee on Aviation, on Friday, 19th June, 2020.
The unions leadership mince no words at the meeting as they told the committee that restarting air travel on 21st of June will spell doom for the industry and the national economy as there are tons of issues to resolve but are still begging for drastic attention
The Aviation committee chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, wondered why the union leaders were so vehement and not excited about the return to the sky on the earlier touted date, 21st JUNE, 2020.
NAAPE President, Engr Galadima Abednego, and his fellow comrades reeled out tons of technical issues that borders on safety that are yet to be addressed such as the recertification of Pilots which cost about $30,000 per pilot.
They told the legislators that all the aircraft parked will need to be attended by engineers who are type rated on a particular aircraft to appraise the machine and signed it out for flight operations.
Engr Galadima informed the senators that airlines’ engineers and their mechanics must first conduct necessary maintenance as recommended by the aircraft manufacturers and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Thereafter, NCAA Engineers he explained, will later conduct independent inspection on each of the aircraft and certify it fit, before anyone could be giving the nod to return to the sky.
The union leaders reiterated that financial stimulus is crucial ahead of restarting flight because most private companies and very worse is that government parastatals are even indebted to their workers.
The unions leaders affirmed that for them, it’s better to call their members on strike than to be at work grudgingly with the consequence of a crash. They claimed as a policy, they will opt for a strike hence the engagement with the legislators on the dire strait the industry is presently.
ATSSSAN President, Illitrus Ahmadu, said the airport managers, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, is among agencies of government owing salaries and allowances.
He noted that some of the airline operators would find it impossible to start on their own without financial stimulus hence government needs to quickly translate its promise on financial bailout to action so that operators could earnestly begin their preparation to restart and avoid further postponement of flight resumption.
Summing up the position of the Senate in the light of the priviledged information, the aviation committee Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said the postponement of opening the nation’s airspace seems a wise course.
He added that, “on the strike action being threatened by the Aviation workers, and since it’s better to have strike actions in the sector by aggrieved workers than a crash, there is need for government to tarry a bit on the plan to unlock the sector this Sunday”, he said. Present at the meeting was the former aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah, who concurredShare