Blasts Caverton owner, son over workers’ rights violation
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has called on the Federal Government to urgently address the serious shortcomings of the newly commissioned Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) so as to put the terminal to use.
The National President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue said it would be a major disservice to this administration should the terminal turn out to be a white elephant, stressing that this must be avoided at all costs.
He said, “We also call on the Federal Government to urgently address the serious shortcomings of the newly commissioned international terminal at MMIA so as to put the terminal to use. It will be a major disservice to this administration should the terminal turn out to be a white elephant. This must be avoided at all cost”.
While Air Peace moved into the ultra-modern terminal 2 a few days ago, the majority of airlines are shunning the new terminal in favor of the older Terminal 1. This is reportedly due to the lack of apron space at Terminal 2, which is not wide enough to accommodate certain wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, 777, 747, and Airbus A380.
The lack of space has constrained foreign airlines from using the facility; a situation that had forced the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and by extension the Ministry of Aviation to consider the demolition of facilities around the area.
To this end, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) saw its Lagos office come under demolition while the EverGreen Apple and Dominion Hangars have been slated for demolition to allow for wide-body airplanes to make use of the new terminal.
The Government in 2013 did not take into consideration the space for the terminal project as the project was hurriedly conceived. There was a huge design problem and many other issues that led to the delay in completing the project within two years. The terminal was completed seven years after.
The new terminal features 66 check-in counters, 16 arrival immigration desks, 28 departure immigration desks, eight security screening points, a multi-layer baggage sorting system, five arrival gates, six departure gates, and seven boarding bridges.
With a $500 million loan from the Export and Import Bank of China, five airport terminals at its principal aviation hubs were constructed by China’s CCECC.
Apart from the international terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, the other international terminals are in Abuja, Enugu, Kano, and Port Harcourt. Abuja and Port-Harcourt terminals had since been completed.
The Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja is projected to serve 16 million passengers annually, up from its current capacity of five million.
FAAN had repeatedly said that once the new terminal opens, the old international terminal which has served passengers, airlines, and other airport users for more than four decades would be shut down for total rehabilitation, adding that after the completion of major works, the two terminals would be put to use to ease congestion and help in seamless processing of travelers.
In a related development, Nnabue took a swipe at what he described as “A wicked regime in Caverton Helicopters where the owner and his son Managing Director have chosen to enrich themselves by the blood of the employees of the airline”.“Salaries and other entitlements of workers are denied at will. Workers who are forced out of the company never receive their benefits as per Conditions of Service. All agreements entered into with our Union, and with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) under the mediation of the Ministry of Labour have all been kept in the breach.“The owner and his son MD are clearly unfit, or too wicked, to have human beings work for them. I use this opportunity to charge all aviation workers to prepare for a mother strike action against Caverton Helicopters at a date to be shortly announced”, he added.