The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has disclosed that Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) may temporarily shut the country’s airspace during hazardous weather conditions expected commence any moment soon.
This is as the authority warned pilots and airline operators operating within the country’s airspace to take precautionary steps before deploying their aircraft to the sky, especially at this season.
A statement by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, on Sunday said that this was necessary in order to ensure total safety in the country’s airspace within this period.
The statement said that NIMET has predicted March/April and May/June 2019 as the commencement of rainy season in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria, which he said is usually accompanied with turbulence.
This, he said was in addition to microburst, low level windshare and sometimes events that could affect the safety of flight operations.
According to Adurogboye, the warning was contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 27 addressed to all pilots and airline operators, which was signed by Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General, NCAA.
He noted that the AC was sequel to the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) released for the year 2019 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
Adurogbye stated that consequently, flight crews, operators and ATCs would ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima in line with standard and recommend practices.
“All pilots are therefore obliged to exercise maximum restraint whenever severe weather condition is observed or forecast by NIMET,” he said.
He called on pilots, flight crew members to should obtain adequate departure, en route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET aerodrome meteorological offices situated in all the airports prior to flight operations for the purpose of safe flight operations.
The statement added: “Operators are therefore required to play a key role in ensuring adequate measures are put in place to lessen the effects of the attendant flight delays and cancellations on their passengers as occasioned by this severe weather conditions in accordance with Part 19 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2015.
“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 safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously.”