The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has blamed the prevailing flight delays and cancellations experienced by air travelers across airports in the country on adverse weather situation.
The NCAA, General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Samuel Adurogboye, however, appeal in a statement issued in Lagos on Thursday to travelers to understand the situation.
Adurogboye explained that the inclement weather was a global experience at the moment which had warranted cancellation of in-bound international flights alike; therefore, not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
He said the authority had earlier urged pilots, operators and other stakeholders to exercise restraints over harmattan dust haze and safety approach to adopt.
“NCAA has issued an Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated Nov. 12, 2019 alerting pilots of the hazards associated with dust haze.
“It is a dry and dusty wind that blows South from the Sahara across Nigeria which is expected to persist till March 2020.
“As issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, the cessation of the rainy season was predicted from mid-October in the Northern part to early Dec. 2019 in the Southern part,’’ he explained.
Adurogboye said with the issuance of that circular, that the Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA – AEROMET 27 dated March 26, 2019 was accordingly cancelled.
He said pilots and operators had been directed to note the following hazards and operational problems forthwith in the interest of safety, adding that the Air-to-ground visibility might be considerably reduced due to dust haze.
“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 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,’’ he said.
Adurogboye said on the other hand, enumerated below were series of responsibilities for pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).
He said pilots should exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition was observed or forecast by Nimet.
The general manager said flight crews, operators and 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.
He added that operators should ensure that necessary measures were put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.
Adurogboye said passengers ought to be informed of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time by the Airlines.
He said the regulatory authority would expect strict compliance from all stakeholders regarding the circular, as violation would be seriously viewed.