NCAA issues weather alert to pilots due to harmattan haze

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……urges pilots to exercise restraint

……appealed to passengers for patience

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued advisory circular to advice pilots about the hazards associated with current harmattan dust haze prevalent in some part of the country.

This is geared toward ensuring seamless navigation in the country’s airspace.

Spokesman for the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye said the circular, which had gone out to the industry, also offers guidance to help prevent incidents or accidents caused by such weather related occurrences.

He added that with the issuance of this circular by the authority, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 21 dated April 1, 2016 is accordingly cancelled.

According to him, the current circular was in line with the forecast earlier made by NIMET, which has indicated the occurrence of moderate to severe outbreaks of dust during the period of November 2016 – March 2017 in the country, predicting that it will on many occasions reduce horizontal visibility significantly.

“It is pertinent to note that the effect of the harmattan is comparable to that of heavy fog which may considerably reduce air – to – ground visibility.” He added.

Similarly, the statement warned that aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima and in severe conditions dust haze could blot out runway, markers and airfield lighting over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.

NCAA stated that where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled, the circular further indicated.

As result of this , pilots are directed to ensure that adequate departure, en – route and destination weather information and briefings are obtained from NIMET prior to flight operations, to exercise maximum restraint when adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET and to ensure that flight operations are scheduled with adequate input from NIMET to minimise delay or cancellation of flight operations.

The regulatory body appealed to air travellers for understanding and not to be lawless should the situation arises and flight has to be delayed or cancelled.

The flight crew, NCAA said are directed to adhere strictly to the prescribed weather minima for each of the airports, as violation would be viewed seriously.

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