Pilots who fly in the Nigerian airspace have been cautioned by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) over severe thunderstorms and other hazardous weather which hamper flight operations as rains begin to fall.
The Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu warned in the Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 31 which he addressed to all pilots and airline operators.
The warning is in line with the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for the year 2021.
NIMET, in the SCP, predicted early/late March as the commencement of rainy season in the Southern states while late April/June 2021 is the commencement of rainy season in Central and Northern parts of Nigeria.
According to NCAA, “consequently, this weather advisory circular is necessary to bring forth the evolving weather information associated with the commencement of the rainy season and the effects on safety and efficiency of flight operations; and to elicit the cooperation of the following stakeholders to ensure safe air transport at all times.”
NCAA, therefore, directed pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers Pilots to observe series of responsibilities forthwith as Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close the airspace when any of the conditions in (1) are observed or forecast by NIMET; Light Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to ensure adherence to published aerodrome weather minima; pilots to exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET; and pilots/flight crew members to obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices prior to flight operations.
“Strict compliance to this warning is expected from all stakeholders as maximum sanction shall be imposed for non-compliance,” said NCAA, while enjoining all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period of heavy downpour.