Flight operation have resumed at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano (MAKIA), after a dispute between Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Flights scheduled to leave Kano on Monday morning were disrupted as the Air Traffic Controllers suspended their operations which affected landing and taking-off of flights.
An airport official said AZMAN and Max Air flights scheduled for Abuja and Lagos were not allowed to leave, and that passengers after boarding the flights were later told to disembark as the Air Traffic Controllers shut down their operations.
It was gathered that the dispute between the two bodies of the airport started after the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) shut down air navigation services for flights in and out of the Airport, over power supply to NAMA facilities and staff accommodations that were disconnected.
It was gathered that on Friday that FAAN disconnected power supply to all NAMA staff accommodations due to non-payment of electricity bills.
Our sources added that very important personalities stranded at the airport, including some federal lawmakers, deputy governors and others, were already intervening to sort out the differences so as to restore flights operation.
After some hours, the issue was temporarily resolved as Max Air and Azman Air flights took off from the airport.
The Kano development comes a week after aviation industry unions concluded plans to protest at all airports in the country following what they called the “obnoxious” provisions in the newly signed Civil Aviation Act (CAA) which gives the Minister of Aviation express power to prohibit trade union activities.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week signed the new Civil Aviation Act into law out of the six aviation Bills recently passed by the National Assembly.
But the unions said they have discovered that the new Act assented to by the President contained provisions classifying aviation agencies as rendering essential services while empowering the minister to prohibit industrial action by unions.
The unions, including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) at a joint conference at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos gave a 14-day ultimatum from Monday to correct the anomaly or face a total shut down of the sector.
General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba, who briefed newsmen explained that the issue of proscribing union activities did not come up during the public hearings organised by the Joint National Assembly committees on Aviation before the Bills were passed.
According to him, the new civil aviation Act transmitted to the President for assent stated that “all services which facilitate and maintain smooth, orderly and safe take off, flight and landing of aircraft, embarkation and disembarkation and evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively in all aerodromes in Nigeria are hereby designated as essential services pursuant to the provisions of Section 11 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered).
Also the Act was said to have provided that there shall be no strikes, lock-outs, pickets, blockades.