The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued weather Advisory Circular (AC) to the industry which permits Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) to temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms squall lines microburst or low-level wind shear are observed or forecast by NIMET.
According to the NCAA, the objective of this AC is to bring pilots and operators up to date on the occurrence of thunderstorm phenomena over Nigerian airports since the onset of rainy season in the country.
NCAA, who demanded strict compliance, said that the statistics from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) indicated that most of the airports have recorded quite a number of thunderstorms between March and July 2020.
The regulated body explained that in the month of July 2020, NIMET data indicate the following number of thunderstorm occurrence: Abuja (23), Ikeja (8), Kano (24), Port Harcourt (11), Owerri (17) and Benin (11). In the same month, gustiness range between 22Kt and 42Kt at the listed airports.
A circular signed by NCAA Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Musa Nuhu said that the purpose of this AC is to bring forth the evolving weather information which could adversely affect safe and efficient flight operations post COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena such as severe turbulence, microburst, low-level wind shear and hail events that could affect the safety of flight operations are possible during the rainy season; therefore, all stakeholders are expected to perform their roles as stated below in order to ensure the safety of flight operations.
NCAA said that by this circular Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms squall lines microburst or low-level wind shear are observed or forecast by NIMET.
- Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima;
- Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET;
- Pilot / Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological offices prior to flight operations.
NCAA stated that it would expect strict compliance to this circular from all stakeholders and violation would be viewed seriously.