The Federal Government through its Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, on Thursday, advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over hazardous weather in dry season.
It stated that based on this, flights were bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.
The regulator said the warning of hazardous weather was contained in a release by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency alerting the public on the possibility of deterioration in visibility as a result of observed dust haze propagated into Nigeria from the source region.
“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 flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima. In view of the above, all pilots, operators and air traffic controllers are obliged to abide by these safety requirements,” the agency stated.
It outlined the safety requirements to include closure of the airspace by air traffic controllers when any of the earlier stated conditions are observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by flight crews/operators and air traffic controllers.
“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 adverse weather is observed.
“And operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of delay or cancellations on their passengers,” NCAA stated in the statement signed by the Director-General, Musa Nuhu.
It urged all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety was of utmost importance, adding that airline operators and stakeholders were also advised to avail themselves of weather reports for effective planning in their operations, as violations would be viewed seriously.
Meanwhile, the authority pointed out that NIMET had in its release stated that “winds over 10m and 925hPha are favourable for dust-haze propagations into the Northern parts of the country.”
It explained that these sources from Chad were expected to report poor horizontal visibility in the next 24 hours, based on available models.
The agency stated that due to strong winds, the dust in suspension was expected to propagate to some states in the Northern part of the country, which would further reduce horizontal visibility, especially over Katsina, Kano, Nguru, Jigawa, Potiskum and Maiduguri in the next 24hours.
It said the information was intended to alert pilots about the nature of weather associated with the dry season in Nigeria ranging from light/moderate to severe dust haze and sometimes early morning fog, which could sometimes reduce the horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.
“Therefore, members of the general public are to take necessary precautions during this time in the planning of their trips so as not to encounter unnecessary flight delays,” the agency stated.