As the nation sets to witness the onset of Harmattan weather condition across the country, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned Pilots and airline operators to observe safety precautions in line with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) during flight operations just as it appeals to passengers for patient, understanding and exhibit exemplary conduct during flight delays and cancellations in adverse weather conditions.
The warning was contained in an Advisory Circular with reference no. AC: NCAA-AEROMET- 26: to all Pilots and Airline Operators signed by the Director General of the Authority, Capt Muhtar Usman.
The statement further explained that the circular became imperative as the rainfall cessation will likely herald a long and severe dust haze (Harmattan) in the months ahead.
“With this information, pilots are expected to be cautious and uphold Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) while conducting flights during hazardous weather associated with dust haze at this period. This haze comes with – a dry and dusty wind that blows southwards from the Sahara across Nigeria in the months of November to March.”
It added that base on the above; pilots should note that air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to the dust haze.
However, where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are expected to be delayed, diverted or outrightly canceled.
Therefore to reiterate, all Pilots are obliged to exercise maximum restraint especially when the severe weather condition is observed or forecasted by NIMET.
Pilots should obtain adequate departure, en route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET prior to flight operations at all the airports. The Flight Crews/ Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) should ensure adherence to aerodrome operating minima.
While it advised operators to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19, the regulatory authority also appealed to passengers to show understanding when flights are delayed or canceled as a result of adverse weather.
All passengers, NCAA said are required to be patient, understanding and exhibit exemplary conduct during flight delays and cancellations as safety is paramount in flight operations. In the same vein, stakeholders are expected to ensure strict compliance with this Advisory Circular as NCAA will view any infraction very seriously.