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Bad weather triggers flight cancellations as NCAA alerts pilots

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Sunday cautioned pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over ‘hazardous’ weather which it said is associated with the…

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Sunday cautioned pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over ‘hazardous’ weather which it said is associated with the dry season.

The warning 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.

The circular signed by the NCAA director general, Capt. Musa Nuhu, was sequel to the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) which reported that there would be cessation of rainfall and weather associated with dry season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.

And as the NCAA was issuing the circular, several flights were already being cancelled across the country following poor visibility occasioned by the weather.

Findings by Daily Trust showed that the northern routes are mostly affected as several flights were cancelled over the weekend to Kano, Katsina and other places in the North.

It was learnt that some flights that were to convey guests to Katsina to commiserate with the family of the Max Air vice chairman and CEO, Alhaji Bashir Barau Mangal, were cancelled as the weather in Katsina was not good for flight operations. 

“We continue to observe the weather situation across various destinations and ensure that we don’t take any chances as safety is very paramount to us,” an operator said.

Following the NIMET’s prediction, NCAA alerted pilots about the 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.

The circular highlighted the effects of the weather on flight operations to include air-to-ground visibility reduction due to haze dust or fog; 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.

The authority stated that flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

The authority urged all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period “as their safety is of utmost importance, adding that stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to this advisory circular as violations would be viewed seriously.

Pilots, operators and air traffic controllers were however advised to abide by these safety requirements which include closure of the airspace by air traffic controllers when any of these conditions in (3) is observed or forecast by NIMET.

NCAA said strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) must be observed, adding that 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.

“Operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of delay or cancellations on their passengers,” the circular added.


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