There is no end in sight to the recent flight disruption in the aviation industry as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution over hazardous weather as the rainy season sets in.
The warning was contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 33 issued 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.
Daily Trust reports that weather is a major cause of flight delays and cancellations referred to as force majeure in the industry as it is usually characterised by massive delays and cancellations of flights.
The NCAA circular followed the advent of the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released for the year 2022 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
NIMET had earlier predicted early/late March as the commencement of the rainy season across the Southern states while April/May and June 2022 is the onset of the rainy season in the Central and Northern parts of Nigeria.
Our correspondent further reports that the rainy season, at outset, is usually characterised by severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena such as severe turbulence, microburst and low level wind shear events that could affect the safety of flight operations.
Therefore, the NCAA charged all stakeholders to perform their roles as stated below in order to ensure the safety of flight operations.
With the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA – AEROMET 32 is accordingly cancelled.
Therefore, the NCAA said air traffic controllers, may in the interest of safety temporarily close the airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines microburst or level wind-shear are forecast by NIMET.
For pilots and flight crew/operators, the NCAA said they should ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima.
The circular added, “Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Pilots /flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome meteorological stations prior to flight operations.
“In view of the above, operators are required to play a key role in ensuring adequate measures are put in place to lessen the effects of the attendant flight delays and cancellations on their passengers occasioned by hazardous severe weather during the rainy season in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19.
“While the authority urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously.”