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Harmattan: NCAA warns pilots about poor visibility

By on December 6, 2016

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has issued a circular warning pilots about poor visibility brought about by harmattan haze in some parts of the country.

The spokesperson for the NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said the circular, which also offered guidance on accident prevention, was in line with the forecast earlier made by Nigerian Meteorological Agency that indicated that there would be moderate to severe outbreak of dust from November 2016 to March 2017, significantly reducing horizontal visibility.

He said, “With the issuance of this circular by the NCAA, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Advisory Circular AC: NCAA – AEROMET 21 dated 1st of April, 2016 is accordingly cancelled. It is pertinent to note that the effect of the harmattan is comparable to that of heavy fog, which may considerably reduce air to ground visibility.

“Similarly, aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minimal and in severe conditions, dust haze could blot out runway, markers and airfield lighting over wide areas, making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible. Where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed weather minimal, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled.”

According to him, pilots must ensure adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefings are obtained from NIMET prior to flight operations.

“They should exercise maximum restraint when adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET and ensure that flight operations are scheduled with adequate input from NIMET to minimise delay or cancellation of flight operations,” he added.

Adurogboye also advised the travelling public to show understanding and not become lawless when flights had to be delayed or cancelled.