The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has appealed to passengers for their understanding over the prevailing flight delays and cancellations experienced at airports across the country due to the adverse weather situation.
According to a statement issued by General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, the prevailing inclement weather is a global experience at the moment which had warranted cancellation of in-bound international flights alike; therefore, not peculiar to Nigeria.
Adurogboye said that the appeal is contained in a release issued today by NCAA at the Aviation House.
Earlier, the authority had urged pilots, operators and other stakeholders to exercise restraints over harmattan dust haze and safety approach to adopt.
The Regulatory agency issued an Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated November 12, 2019 alerting pilots of the hazards associated with dust haze, which according to NCAA 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 December, 2019 (in the Southern part).
With the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular (AC): NCAA – AEROMET 27 dated March 26, 2019 is accordingly cancelled.
NCAA directed pilots/operators to note the following hazards and operational problems forthwith in the interest of safety:
* That Air-to-ground visibility may 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; and
* Flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.
Meanwhile, NCAA has enumerated series of responsibilities for pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), which includes:
- Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition is observed or forecast by Nimet;
- Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima;
- All pilots shall obtain adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteorological office prior to flight operations and
- Operators shall ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.
NCAA also directed that operators must inform passengers of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time and that the regulatory authority would expect strict compliance from all stakeholders regarding the circular as violation would not be seriously viewed.