Aviation authourity warns pilots, airlines on cloudy, hazy atmosphere

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned pilots and airline operators to observe safety precaution in line with Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) during flight operations in adverse weather conditions.

Earlier, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), has predicted partly cloudy to sunny and hazy atmosphere over most parts of the country with prospects of scattered thunderstorms over the Southern part on Monday.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook on Sunday, in Abuja, predicted partly cloudy to sunny conditions over the Central cities during the forecast period, adding that, the region would have day and night temperatures in the ranges of 29 of 38 and 13 to 20 degrees celsius respectively.

The NCAA warning is contained in an Advisory Circular with reference no. AC: NCAA-AEROMET- 26 to all Pilots and Airline Operators signed by the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Mukhtar Usman.

A copy of the circular was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.

Usman said the circular became imperative as the end of rainfall would likely herald a long and severe dust haze, Harmattan, in the months ahead.

He said: “With this information, pilots are expected to be cautious and uphold Standards 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.

“Consequently, pilots should note that air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to the dust haze.

“In addition, aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minimal and in severe conditions dust haze can blot out runways, the markers and airfield lightings over wide areas. This makes visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.”

According to him, where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are expected to be delayed, diverted or cancelled.

“Therefore, all pilots are obliged to exercise maximum restraint especially when 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,” Usman said.

He, therefore, advised operators to ensure that necessary measures were put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers in accordance with Nig. CARs Part 19.

“All passengers are therefore required to be patient, understanding and exhibit exemplary conduct during flight delays and cancellations as safety is paramount in flight operations.

“Similarly, stakeholders are expected to ensure strict compliance with this advisory circular as the NCAA will view any infraction very seriously,” Usman said. (NAN)