The Union of Professional Controllers in Air Traffic (Sitecna) warned of delays in the attention of flights at the Daniel Oduber International Airport, as well as a possible stoppage of services within the next hours. This is due to the fact that, as of this Saturday (yesterday), the personnel in charge of the attention of flights are reduced.
“Currently, the control tower of Liberia airport has 12 people who work as air traffic controllers, but only 6 of them have the appointment for this function; the other 6 have been doing this work for more than 1 year, having a lower position and waiting for the appointment. However, before the breach, they decided from this Saturday to stop doing these functions and return to the work for which they were appointed”, said the representative of the union, Ronald Vega.
These 6 staff members have a position representing a consulting work, not an effective control. “They are appointed to make flight plans, note destinations, etc. But for more than one year, they have supported the flight service, without these 6 colleagues in air control. There are only 6 left, including the chief; it is a number that will not supply enough, and we calculate that from today until Monday there will be stoppages of the service”, added Vega.
On March 9th, the group held a similar protest. However, the authorities of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) and Civil Aviation met with them and committed to speed up the appointments and the opening of new places.
“They have not complied, we are still waiting for them to fulfill the commitments we had, they even announced that Liberia was going to work 24 hours a day, but there is no progress in the necessary hiring, or at least, that the comrades who have been helping for months in a function that does not correspond to them”, said the union representative.
On this new announcement of protest, the Civil Aviation authorities indicated that, for the moment, the Liberia airport operations are developing normally. The head of services of Air Navigation of the entity, Marco López, said that “constant and fluid communication with air traffic controllers is maintained in search of a joint solution”. López added that the solution is being worked on, in order to free the places, and that the respective administrative process established by the institution must be followed.
For its part, the company in charge of the Daniel Oduber airport administration, Coriport, indicated that they are aware of the discomfort of the air traffic controllers and are alert to the possible damage that may occur. However, they reiterated that, for the moment, there has not been any registered affectation.