Abuja airport: NCAA clears helicopter owners to commence operations

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…As aviation unions picket Arik today 

By Louis Ibah

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has given its clearance for the commencement of commercial Helicopter operation at the Abuja airport.

Spokesman for the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, in a statement yesterday said “a letter has since been dispatched to all concerned operators duly certified by the regulatory authority to commence operations in and out of Abuja forthwith.”

Recall that the National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongonu, had barred commercial or chartered helicopter operations into Abuja airport, thus forcing investors waiting to provide shuttle services between Abuja – Kaduna – Minna corridors to lose billions of naira in the process.

“The restriction has been rescinded and all operators are hereby enjoined to embark on their regular operations as approved. All operators should therefore carry out their operations in line with Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs),” said Adurogboye.

Meanwhile, labour unions in Nigeria’s aviation sector are threatening to shut down the operations of Arik Air over the failure of its new management to re-instate some sacked workers and barring workers from being a part of any union in the industry.

Daily Sun learnt that the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), have concluded plans to picket Arik Air today (Thursday), a development that could lead to the shut down of the airline’s operations nationwide.

The General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye, in an interview with journalists at the union’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, accused the new management of Arik Air of intolerance to unionism.

He alleged that the new management, through a circular recently, warned the workers not to join unions in the industry in addition to its refusal to address all pending issues affecting workers’ welfare.

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