The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has urged pilots to exercise maximum restraint during this harmattan season as it can hamper safe flight operations.
In a statement, NCAA Spokesman, Sam Adurogboye says, the season which has since commenced and expected to persist till March next 2020 as predicted by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMET is hazardous to safe flight operations.
“As issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, the cessation of the rainy season is predicted from mid-October (in the Northern part) to early December, 2019 (in the Southern part)”.
According to him, in its resolve to ensure safe flight operations in Nigeria airspace, it has issued Advisory Circular to intimate pilots, operators and other stakeholders about dust haze and safety approach to adopt.
“This Advisory Circular AC: NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated 12th November, 2019 is intended to alert Pilots to the hazards associated with dust haze which is a dry and dusty wind that blows south from the Sahara across Nigeria. This situation is expected to persist till March, 2020”, he added.
Pilots, Operators have been directed to note that during the period Air-to-ground visibility may be reduced considerably due to dust haze and 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 visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.
Others are, Pilots should obtain adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteorological office prior to flight operations; and to ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima.
“Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition is observed or forecast by NiMET”.
“Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima”
The statement also urged passengers that during bad weather situation flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled when terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.
The NCAA says Operators have been advised to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.
“From the foregoing, the regulatory authority will expect strict compliance from all stakeholders as violation will be seriously viewed”.