The 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 in adverse weather conditions.
This 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.
This 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.
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 minima 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.
However, where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are expected to be delayed, diverted or outrightly cancelled.
Therefore to reiterate, 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.
Operators are therefore advised to ensure 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.
All passengers are therefore required 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 Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will view any infraction very seriously.