The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cautioned all pilots and airline operators over severe thunderstorms and other hazardous weather which hamper flight operations, especially during rainy season.
The Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, gave the warning in the Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET 31 addressed to all pilots and airline operators in Lagos on Wednesday.
Nuhu explained that the circular was coming on the advent of the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for the year 2021.
It was reported that NIMET has predicted early/late March as the commencement of the rainy season in the Southern states while late April/June 2021, is the commencement of the rainy season in Central and Northern parts of Nigeria.
The director-general said, consequently, this weather advisory circular was necessary to bring forth the evolving weather information associated with the commencement of the rainy season.
Nuhu added that the circular was to the effects on safety and efficiency of flight operations, and to elicit cooperation of the following stakeholders to ensure the safety of air transport at all times.
He said: “Therefore, Pilots, Operators and Air Traffic Controllers Pilots are directed to observe series of responsibilities enumerated below forthwith:
“Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close the airspace when any of the conditions in (1) are observed or forecast by NIMET;
“Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to ensure adherence to published aerodrome weather minima;
“Pilots are to exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Pilots/Flight Crew members to obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices prior to flight operations.”
The authority according to him, enjoined all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period of heavy downpour.
He added that strict compliance to this warning was expected from all stakeholders as maximum sanction shall be imposed for non-compliance.