The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has encouraged pilots and airline operators to exercise caution during the dry season, as the Harmattan haze has forced flight cancellations and delays since December 20, 2022.
The advice was contained in a circular with the reference number AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 34, issued by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), addressed to all pilots and airline operators and signed by Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director General.
The alert circular followed the Nigerian Meteorological Agency’s (NIMET) Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP), which predicted a cessation of rainfall and conditions associated with a dry season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.
The circular, according to the Authority, was intended to warn pilots about the nature of weather associated with Nigeria’s dry season, which ranged from light/moderate to severe dust haze and early morning fog, which can sometimes reduce horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.
“The NCAA identified the effects of hazardous weather on flight operations, which include reduced air-to-ground visibility due to haze, dust, or fog; 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 canceled where terminal visibility falters.”
In light of the foregoing, it was also stated that all pilots, operators, and air traffic controllers were required to abide by the safety requirements and were expected to carry out the following measures: closure of the airspace by Air Traffic Controllers when any of these conditions were observed or forecast by NIMET; strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC); and pilots/flight crew members “shall obtain
Furthermore, operators were obligated to put in place all essential procedures to mitigate the effects of delays or cancellations on their passengers.