The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has asked airline operators and their pilots to observe safety precautions as the harmattan weather begins.
The NCAA said all the rules in line with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations on flight operations in adverse weather conditions should be observed.
According to a statement signed by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, the warning had been sent in an advisory circular with reference no. AC: NCAA-AEROMET- 26 and signed by the Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, to all pilots and airline operators.
The regulatory agency said the warning became imperative as the end of rainfall would likely herald a long and severe dust haze in the months ahead.
The NCAA said, “With this information, pilots are expected to be cautious and uphold standard and recommended practices while conducting flights during hazardous weather associated with dust haze at this period. This haze comes with a dry and dusty wind that blows southwards from the Sahara across Nigeria in the months of November to March.
“Consequently, pilots should note that air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to the dust haze. In addition, aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima and in severe conditions; dust haze can blot out runways, the markers and airfield lightings over wide areas. This makes visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.
“However, where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are expected to be delayed, diverted or cancelled. Therefore, to reiterate; all pilots are obliged to exercise maximum restraint especially when severe weather condition is observed or forecast by NIMET.”
The NCAA also urged pilots to obtain adequate departure, enroute and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET prior to flight operations at all the airports, while flight crews, operators and air traffic controllers should ensure adherence to aerodrome operating minima.
“Operators are therefore advised to ensure necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19,” the statement read in part.
The aviation authority advised all passengers to be patient, understanding and exhibit exemplary conduct during flight delays and cancellations as safety was paramount in flight operations.