September 26, 2018

NCAA, AIB bicker over NIMET’s false weather report

NCAA, AIB bicker over NIMET’s false weather report

Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Sani Mashi

By Lawani Mikairu
AGOS—THE Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and the Investigation Bureau, AIB, Wednesday, bickered over the false weather report by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET.

Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Sani Mashi

This was as reports revealed that the pilot of the Skybird plane did not obtain weather information from MIMET before departing Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos to Nnamidi Azikiwe Airport Abuja.

While NCAA said there has not been any official complaint by NIMET, the AIB accused the weather agency of providing a wrong rain forecast  which was allegedly responsible for the Gulfstream G IV plane, operated by Skybird Airline overshooting the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The NCAA said the authority said it has confidence in the competence of NIMET to forecast weather correctly.

Speaking to Vanguard on the recent weather-related incidents, flight delays and cancellations, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye said: “I have recently followed the weather reports of NIMET and they have been accurate. The NCAA has not received any report or complaint from airline pilots that they have received any wrong weather report from NIMET. Pilots get current weather report from NIMET before embarking on any flight.”

Recall that the Gulfstream G IV plane, overshot the runway during a heavy downpour that flooded the runway because the pilot of the flight was not aware of the intensity of the rain.

At the time of the incident the aircraft had one passenger onboard with five crew members.

AIB, in its preliminary report on the incident released recently, said that the rain on landing was heavier than the advised slight rain by NIMET.

The aircraft with the registration number 5N-BOD overshot the runway  and was stopped by the muddy area of the end of the runway.

When contacted by Vanguard to speak on the allegation that the Air Traffic Controllers could have passed wrong weather information to the pilots on landing, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Communication Manager, Mr Khalid Emele said: “There was no way the pilot would get wrong weather information from traffic controllers. The pilots get their weather information directly from NIMET. Besides, pilots also get weather information from their cockpits. Most aircraft are equipped with weather reading instruments.”

Plane didn’t obtain weather information

Vanguard investigation and enquiry from NIMET revealed that the pilot of the Skybird plane did not obtain weather information from MIMET before departing the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos for Nnamidi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

A document obtained by Vanguard revealed that: “When the pilot of the plane was taking off from Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on the incident day, he never contacted NIMET office at Ikeja for the mandatory briefing or send his ground crew to collect flight folder to enable him plan the trip.”

“At our Abuja office, our records show that we issued correct weather information to NAMA  control tower office on the weather situation over 30 minutes interval throughout the day of the incident. The report we have issued out clearly indicated thunder storm with rainfall (a situation that any good pilot will be careful of throughout that period…) For thunder storm with rain to have fallen continuously for four hours, one should naturally expect a slippery runway.”