The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed pilots, operators, and other stakeholders to be wary of the forthcoming harmattan haze and adopt a safety approach to contain it.
The NCAA General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, made the call in a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday.
The spokesman said that it had become necessary to ensure safe flight operations in Nigeria airspace.
Adurogboye said NCAA had issued a circular to all stakeholders and would expect strict compliance as violation would be seriously viewed.
He said this circular: NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated Nov. 12, 2019, was intended to alert pilots to the hazards associated with dust haze.
The NCAA official noted that the harmattan was a dry and dusty wind that blew south from the Sahara across Nigeria.
According to him, this situation is expected to persist until March 2020.
Adurogboye said that the prediction was issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin 2019.
The general manager said the cessation of the rainy season was predicted from mid-October (in the Northern part) to early December 2019 (in the Southern part).
He, therefore, said that with the issuance of the recent circular, the Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 27 dated March 26, 2019, was accordingly cancelled.
Adurogboye noted that pilots and operators were, therefore, directed to note the following hazards and operational problems forthwith.
He said: “Air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to dust haze.
“Aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed operating minimal and in severe conditions, dust haze can blot out runways.
“Others are the markers and airfield lightings over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.
“Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.
Adurogboye said on the other hand, enumerated below were series of responsibilities for pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC):
The general manager said the pilots should exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition was observed or forecast by Nimet.
He said flight crews/operators and the ATC should ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima.
Adurogboye said all pilots should obtain adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteorological office prior to flight operations.
According to him, Operators shall ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.