NCAA warns pilots, airlines over hazardous weather

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over hazardous weather in the dry season.

This warning was contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 34 initiated by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS) addressed to all Pilots and Airline Operators and signed by the Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu dated December 19th, 2022.

The advisory circular is the sequel to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) which reported the cessation of rainfall and weather associated with the Dry Season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.

NCAA DG, Capt. Musa Nuhu

Hence, the latest advisory circular he said was intended to alert pilots about the nature of weather associated with the dry season in Nigeria ranging from light/moderate to severe dust haze and sometimes early morning fog which can sometimes reduce the horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.

He noted that with the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 33 is accordingly cancelled.

Enumerated below are the effects of this hazardous weather on flight operations:

  • Air-to-ground visibility reduction due to haze dust or fog;
  • Aerodrome visibility 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 visuals navigation extremely difficult or impossible; and
  • Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted, or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

In view of the above, all Pilots, Operators, and Air Traffic Controllers are obliged to abide by these safety requirements:

 

  • Closure of the airspace by Air Traffic Controllers when any of these conditions in (3) are observed or forecast by NIMET;
  • Strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC);
  • Pilots/Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route, and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices and Stations prior to flight operations and exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed; and
  • Operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of delays or cancellations on their passengers.

 

NCAA

Nuhu noted that while the NCAA urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, stakeholders should ensure strict compliance with this Advisory Circular as violations would be viewed seriously.

Wole Shadare