By Lawani Mikairu
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, yesterday advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over hazardous weather in the current rainy season.
The warning is contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 33 initiated by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, DAAS, addressed to all pilots and operators and signed by the Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu.
The warning came following the advent of the Seasonal Climate Prediction, SCP, released for 2022 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET.
NIMET had predicted thus: “April/May and June 2022 is the onset of rainy season in central and northern parts of Nigeria.
“Rainy season, at outset, is usually characterised by severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena, such as severe turbulence, microburst, low level wind shear events that could affect the safety of flight operations, hence, the need for all stakeholders to perform their roles in order to ensure safety of flight operations.
“With the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA – AEROMET 32 is accordingly cancelled.
‘’Therefore, enumerated is the responsibility for Air Traffic Controllers, ATCs, in the interest of safety:
Air Traffic Controllers, ATC, may temporarily close the airspace when hazardous weather conditions, such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines microburst or low level wind-shear are forecast by NIMET.
“On the other hand, enumerated below are series of responsibilities for pilots and flight crew/operators:
‘’Flight crews/operators and ATCs shall ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima. Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Pilots/flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome meteorological stations, prior to flight operations.
“In view of the above, operators are required to play a key role in ensuring adequate measures are put in place to lessen the effects of the attendant flight delays and cancellations on their passengers occasioned by hazardous severe weather during rainy season in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19.”
“While the authority urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously.’’