December 27, 2022

HARMATTAN: 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.

The advisory was contained in a circular initiated by the directorate of aerodrome and airspace standards (DAAS), signed by Musa Nuhu, NCAA, Director-General.

Nuhu explained that the advisory circular was a sequel to the seasonal climate prediction (SCP) issued by Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, which reported that there would be cessation of rainfall and weather associated with dry season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.

Nuhu, who enumerated the effects of hazardous weather on flight operations, said “Air to-ground visibility reduction due to haze dust or fog.

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

“Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minimal.”

In view of the above, Nuhu said that all pilots, operators and air traffic controllers (ATCs) were obliged to abide by safety requirements.

The safety requirements, he said, include the closure of the airspace by air traffic controllers when any of the aforementioned conditions is observed or forecast by NiMet and strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minimal 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 an adverse weather is observed,” he added.

Nuhu said operators should ensure that all necessary measures were put in place to cushion the effects of delays or cancellations on their passengers.

The NCAA boss urged all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during the period as their safety is of utmost importance.