By Chinedu Eze
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued advisory circular to caution pilots, airline operators and others on severe harmattan haze/fog phenomenon prevalent in Nigerian airports.
The agency explained that this adverse weather condition would subsist from October in the far North; November over the North Central; and December over the southern part of the country.
In addition, early morning fog may also be experienced in the months ahead, especially along the coastal areas in the south.
The Director General, NCAA, Captain, Musa Nuhu, who signed the circular, said the weather advisory was necessary to bring forth the evolving weather information to the attention of all stakeholders who need to perform their roles.
Therefore, to ensure safe and efficient flight operations during this period, Pilots, Operators and Air Traffic Controllers Pilots are directed to observe series of responsibilities, which include that crew/operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall be conversant with each aerodrome weather minima and ensure strict adherence to the requirements.
This means that each airport has its own weather minima different from others and air traffic controllers must have knowledge of this.
“Air Traffic Controllers might temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as heavy fog or severe dust haze reducing the visibility to below airport operating minimal are observed or forecasted by Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
“Pilots/flight crewmembers shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome offices prior to flight operations,” the circular said.
NCAA also directed that pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET and brief passengers accordingly.
“Travelling public is however urged to exercise restraint and show understanding in this Yuletide month as flights may be delayed or cancelled on account of weather situations.
“From the foregoing, the regulatory authority will expect strict compliance to this advisory circular as violation would be viewed seriously,” the agency said.