The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued advisory circular to inform pilots, operators and other stakeholders about dust haze and safety approach to adopt.
In a circular entitled Advisory Circular AC: NCAA-AEROMET-28 dated November 12, the agency alerted pilots to the hazards associated with dust haze which is a dry and dusty wind that blows south from the Sahara across Nigeria.
“This situation is expected to persist till March, 2020. As issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, the cessation of the rainy season is predicted from mid-October (in the Northern part) to early December, 2019 (in the Southern part),” said NCAA.
It further stated that “with the issuance of this circular, Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 27 dated 26th March, 2019 is accordingly cancelled.”
It directed pilots and operators to note that while the harmattan haze persists, air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to dust haze; 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 visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.
It further stated that flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.
NCAA therefore advised pilots to exercise maximum restraint when severe weather condition is observed or forecast by Nimet; flight crews/operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima; all pilots to obtain adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteorological office prior to flight operations, and operators to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.