To ensure continuous safety in the air and on the ground, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution during hazardous weather this dry season.
The regulatory agency also threatened to sanction any pilot, airline or stakeholder who violates any safety measures put in place at this time, warning that the safety of humans and equipment would not be taken for granted by the agency.
A statement signed by the Director-General of Civil Aviation, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said that the warning was contained in an advisory circular by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), addressed to all pilots and airline operators.
Nuhu explained that the advisory circular was a sequel to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
Weather warning: Nuhu emphasised that the advisory circular was intended to alert pilots about the nature of weather associated with the dry season in Nigeria, ranging from moderate to severe dust haze and early morning fog.
These weather conditions could sometimes reduce the horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.
He listed the effects of the hazardous weather on flight operations to include 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.
He declared that as a result of these, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima. The statement added:
- “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 an adverse weather is observed.”
Precautionary measures: Also, he said operators should ensure that all necessary measures were put in place to cushion the effects of delays or cancellations on their passengers.
- Besides, he challenged all passengers to exercise patience and show understanding during this period, maintaining that their safety was of utmost importance.
- He equally urged stakeholders to ensure strict compliance with this advisory circular, warning that violations would be viewed seriously.
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