• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Flight delays expected as harmattan heralds dust haze – NCAA

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said announced to pilots and airline operators that hazardous weather during this dry season could lead to flight delays, cancellations and airspace closure.

In a statement by Musa Nuhu, director general NCAA, he said effects of the hazardous weather on flight operations include air-to-ground visibility reduction due to haze dust or fog and aerodromes 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.

Nuhu said flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

“Given the above, all Pilots, Operators and Air Traffic Controllers are obliged to abide by these safety requirements:

“Closure of the airspace by Air Traffic Controllers when any of these conditions in are observed or forecast by NIMET; Strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) pilots/flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices and Stations before flight operations and exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed.

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“Operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are implemented to cushion the effects of delay or cancellations on their passengers.
While the Authority urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, Airline operators and stakeholders are also advised to avail themselves of weather reports for effective planning in their operations as violations would be viewed seriously,” the DG explained.

An earlier warning was contained in a release by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) on weather, alerting the public on the possibility of deterioration in visibility due to observed dust haze propagated into the country from the source region.

According to the release, “Winds over 10m and 925hPha are favourable for Dust-Haze propagations into the Northern parts of the country. Stations in the source region, Niger (Goure, Zinder, Maine-Soroa, Diffa, N-Guigmi and 61091 and horizontal visibility between 800m and 6000m.

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“These sources from Chad are expected to report poor horizontal visibility in the next 24hrs, based on available models” the release reads.

“Due to strong winds, the dust in suspension is expected to propagate to some states in the northern part of the country, which will further reduce horizontal visibility especially over Katsina, Kano, Nguru, Jigawa, Potiskum and Maiduguri in the next 24hours.”

The information is intended to alert pilots about 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.

“Therefore, members of the general public are to take necessary precaution during this time in the planning of their trips so as not to encounter unnecessary flight delays,” Nuhu added.