NCAA issues advisory, cautions pilots, airlines over poor weather conditions

  • Wants carriers to cushion effects of flight delays, cancellations
  • Airspace may be shut over severe weather condition

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cautioned airlines and pilots to take precautionary measures during flight operations in view of the harmattan haze blowing across the country at this time of the season.

Air-to-ground visibility reduction due to dust haze or fog could also be experienced according to the aviation regulatory body.

Also to be expected is moderate to severe dust haze, early morning fog especially along with the coastal areas, which in some instances can reduce horizontal visibility to less than 200 meters during the period of November 2021 to March 2022.

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The aviation regulatory body in its weather advisory circular signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu to all airlines and pilots, said flights are bound to be delayed, diverted, or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

Aircraft positioning for take-off

Aerodrome visibility, Nuhu reiterated may fall below the prescribed operating minima and in severe conditions, dust haze can blot out runways, markers, and airfield lightings over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.

He noted that there could be the closure of the airspace by air traffic controllers when any of the conditions are observed or forecast by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)

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Nuhu urged them to stick with strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by flight crews/operators and air traffic controllers, adding that pilots /flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure-route and destination weather information and briefing from NiMet aerodrome methodologist offices and station prior to flight operations and excise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed.

Operators shall ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.

He equally charged operators to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.

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The NCAA noted that the advisory was given strength via the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) for the year 2021 to bring forth the evolving weather information associated with severe dust haze/fog and the effects on the safety and efficiency of flight operations.

NiMet had predicted rainfall cessation in October in the extreme Northern part of the country, November around the Middle Belt, and late November/December in the southern part of the country.

Wole Shadare