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Safety Alert: NCAA, NiMET caution pilots against hazardous weather, consumers’ ill-health

*The Nigerian Meteorological Agency and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority advise airline operators to avail themselves of weather reports from NiMet for effective planning of their flight operations, as well as warning consumers that ‘current weather condition is not good for their health’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For possible deterioration in horizontal visibility resulting from thick dust haze during flight operations, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, (NiMet) and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have warned pilots and airlines on hazards of dry weather in the country’s aviation industry.

The NiMET, in a statement issued night of December 25, 2022, warned the public on the possibility of deterioration in horizontal visibility as a result of thick dust haze propagated into Nigeria from the source region in Niger Republic.

Muntari Yusuf Ibrahim, General Manager, Public Relations at NiMET, advised airline operators to avail themselves of weather reports from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

The regulatory agency noted the latest weather advisory from its Central Forecast Office (CFO)  indicates that “favourable conditions for  Dust-Haze propagations into the nation will worsen horizontal visibility.

The weather regulator also stated that stations in Niger (Maine-Soroa, Goure, Maradi, N-guigmi, Diffa and 61091) and Chad (Ndjamena) had both persistently reported Dust-Haze with poor horizontal visibility.

“In the next few hours, strong winds at 800m will spread more dust into the country,” it said.

It was gathered that strong winds at 800m are expected to transport the dust to the country, particularly the North and North-central regions.

The circular further disclosed that satellite images obtained indicated that in 24 hours, there are prospects of thick dust haze over locations, including l Katsina, Kano, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Borno and Adamawa.

It stated that in other Northern and North central states, they are expected to report moderate dust-haze (visibility of 2–5km).

“This weather condition is expected to persist for the next 72 hours.

“The Day-Time Temperature (Max) over the country is expected to fall as a result of plume of dust,” said NiMET.

The agency urged members of the public to take necessary precautions against dust particles currently in suspension over the atmosphere.

It also advises individuals with respiratory ailments to protect themselves as the current weather condition is not good for their health.

Night-time cold temperatures should be expected so warm clothes are advised for little children.

NCAA urges aviators against current associated with dry season

Likewise, the NCAA in an advisory on the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP), issued by NiMET, which reported that cessation of rainfall and weather associated with dry season in Nigeria from late December 2022 to March/April 2023.

Captain Musa Nuhu, Director General of the NCAA, stated in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET-34, initiated by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS) addressed to all Pilots and Airline Operators.

The aviation regulator stated the AC is intended to alert pilots to the nature of weather associated with the dry season in Nigeria, ranging from light/moderate to severe dust haze and sometimes early morning fog.

Nuhu said the weather condition sometimes could reduce the horizontal visibility to below the aerodrome operating minima.

With the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 33 is accordingly cancelled, stated the NCAA Chief.

The regulator enumerated are effects of hazardous weather on flight operations to include: Air-to-ground visibility reduction 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 visuals 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.

The regulatory agency stated all pilots, operators and air-traffic controllers are obliged to abide by these safety requirements from closure of the airspace by Air Traffic Controllers when any of these conditions in are observed or forecast by NIMET; to strict adherence to published aerodrome weather minima by Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC).

Nuhu said: “Pilots/Flight Crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices and Stations prior to flight operations and exercise maximum restraint whenever an adverse weather is observed; and

“Operators shall ensure that all necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of delay or cancellations on their passengers.”

The NCAA also noted: “While the Authority urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to this Advisory Circular as violations would be viewed seriously.”

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