Adverse Weather: NCAA Evaluates Airports 18 Airports Operating Weather Minima

 

…To Take From Effect From January 4, 2018

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in conjunction with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has carried out a review of Aerodrome Operating Weather Minima for 18 airports in Nigeria.

Weather Minima is the worst weather conditions under which aviation operations may be conducted under either visual or instrument flight rules. It is usually prescribed by directives and standing operating procedures in terms of minimum ceiling, visibility, or specific hazards to flight.

A statement issued by the General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye explained that it was in compliance with the provision of Part 8 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs Part 8) and in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Doc.9365.

Adurogboye further explained that in this review, the regulatory authority took cognisance of improvements in visual and navigational aids within the affected airports.

He stated that the reviewed Aerodrome Operating Minima would serve to enhance the operating capacity of the aerodromes, adding that this was due to the fact that it would avail the operators with improved minima for low visibility operations.

According to the review, the landing minima specified for all the 18 airports were determined based on applicable criteria as defined in the ICAO PANS-OPS Doc. 8168, Doc.9365 and that these includes all relevant amendments, as well as available navigational facilities (ILS,VOR/DME, etc) or PBN Navigational Specification (RNAV/GNSS).

On the other hand, the statement stated that  the reviewed operating minima provided for a performance based takeoff minima for the affected aerodromes in Nigeria is determined by available visual aids for takeoff.

It listed the visual aids to include: Runway Centre Lights, Touchdown Zone lights, Runway Edge Lights, Threshold Lights, Runway End Lights and Runway Surface Markings.

According to NCAA , the 18 aerodromes where the operating minima and takeoff minima has been reviewed are Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Dutse, Eket and Enugu.

Others are Gombe, Ilorin, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola and Zaria.

The statement noted that the last time weather minima were actually reviewed was in 1983 and that however, a semblance of revision undertaken in 1993 only stated that the takeoff minima shall be equal or greater than landing minima at all airports.

This, the statement added is to allow for an air return to the same airport should there arise an emergency.

The current review, the statement pointed out allows for takeoff as low as 150 metres Runway Visual Range (RVR) and that some airports in the country with Category Two Instrument Landing Systems (ILS Cat II) can permit landing with 300 metres Runway Visual Range (RVR).

NCAA stated that before this review, the lowest visibility with Category Two ILS in the nation’s airports was 800 metres/550 RVR (Runway Visual Range).

Based on the review, the following airports now have ILS Cat II Approach and Landing Minima, Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Ilorin, Gombe, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola, Dutse, Calabar and Enugu.

‘Therefore, the implementation of these revised aerodrome operating minima (both takeoff and landing) shall be based on compliance with applicable Standard Operating Procedures for Low Visibility Operations at the affected airports. This is executed by Flight Crew, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), Aerodrome Operators and the Meteorological Agency,” NCAA said.

It continued,  “To ensure the seamless operation of these revised minima, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) shall continue to ensure prompt and regular provision of required meteorological information. These will include flight visibility and Runway Visual Range (RVR) values to all ATC units in the airports. Thus NiMet and NAMA shall ensure constant updating of the Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) with the available RVR values as appropriate.”

The statement advised airlines, Aerodrome Operators and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) to ensure adequate training of their personnel and flight crew that would be involved in low visibility operations.

The statement also requires ANSP to ensure regular flight calibration of all available navigational aids, adding that this is to ensure safe and efficient flight operations, especially during low visibility operations.

NCAA stated that it would continue to provide a proactive regulatory oversight that would ensure safety and security of all flight operations, adding that with this review, the regulatory authority has provided a pragmatic solution to the incessant flight delays and cancellations occasioned by inclement weather.

NCAA said stated that passengers would now heave a sigh of relief as their travel plans will now be in real time.

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