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NCAA warns pilots, airline operators over hazardous

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over hazardous weather in dry season.

TheNewsGuru.com, (TNG) reports this caution was contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 34 initiated by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS) addressed to all Pilots and Airline Operators and signed by the Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu dated 19th December, 2022.

The Advisory circular is sequel to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) which reported that cessation of rainfall and weather associated with Dry Season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.

Hence, this AC is intended to alert pilots about nature of weather associated with dry season in Nigeria ranging from light/moderate to severe dust haze and sometimes early morning fog which can sometimes reduce the horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.

According to the agency, with the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 33 is accordingly cancelled.

Enumerated below are effects of this hazardous weather on flight operations:

a.) Air-to-ground visibility reduction due to haze dust or fog;

b.) 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 visuals navigation extremely difficult or impossible; and

c.) Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

In view of the above, NCAA obliged all Pilots, Operators and Air Traffic Controllers to abide by these safety requirements:

i.) Closure of the airspace by Air Traffic Controllers when any of these conditions in (3) are observed or forecast by NIMET;

ii.) Strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC);

iii.) Pilots/Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices and Stations prior to flight operations and exercise maximum restraint whenever an adverse weather is observed; and

iv.) Operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of delay or cancellations on their passengers.

The aviation authority urged all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during the period as their safety is of utmost importance.

The NCAA further advised stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to this Advisory Circular as violations would be viewed seriously.

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