The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned airline operators, pilots, and air traffic controllers (ATCs) to exercise caution while flying during the rainy season.
The regulatory agency warned that the rainy season is often accompanied by wind shears, hail, and microburst, which could cause dangerous turbulence compromising the safety of flight operations.
Sam Adurogboye, General Manager of Public Affairs at the NCAA, in a statement said that the weather alert was necessitated by the fact that the rainy season, at its outset, is usually accompanied with severe thunderstorms and other hazardous weather phenomena.
Mr. Adurogboye said that ATCs may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines microburst or low- level wind shears are observed or forecast by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).
According to him, the Advisory Circular (AC) issued by the regulatory body was based on the 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by the NIMET which indicated that rainy season was predicted to commence in March/April and May/June 2017 in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria, respectively.
“Flight Crew/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima. Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast,” the statement said.
“Pilots/Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NiMet Aerodrome Meteorological Offices prior to flight operations. From the foregoing, the regulatory authority will expect strict compliance.”
Just a few months ago, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) advised airline operators in the country to equip their fleet of aircraft with state-of-the-art equipment in order to operate successfully in the present harmattan haze.
The agency in a statement had said that NAMA had in recent years upgraded its facilities at all airports in order for the operators to operate even with the current weather conditions.
NAMA said that in October 2015, it had implemented and published Performance Based Navigation (PBN) flight procedures for the guidance of aircraft into and out of 16 domestic airports in addition to similar procedures implemented at Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt in 2012.