The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned pilots over severe thunderstorms and other hazardous weather, which hamper flight operations as the rainy season sets in.
NCAA said the warning was a follow-up to the Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 31 addressed to all pilots and airline operators and signed by its Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu.
“This is coming on the advent of the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for the year 2021,” NCAA added.
NIMET predicted March as the commencement of the rainy season in the southern states while April/June 2021 is the commencement of the rainy season in central and Northern states.
“Consequently, this weather advisory circular is necessary to bring forth the evolving weather information associated with the commencement of rainy season and the effects on safety and efficiency of flight operations; and to elicit the cooperation of the following stakeholders to ensure safety air transport at all times,” NCAA said.
It called on pilots, operators and air traffic controllers to observe series of responsibilities.
According to the agency, air traffic controllers may temporarily close the airspace when any of the severe conditions are observed or forecast by NIMET.
It also directed flight crews/operators and air traffic controllers to ensure adherence to published aerodrome weather minima, while pilots must exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.
NCAA also directed that pilots/flight crew members must obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological Offices prior to flight operations.
“While the authority enjoins all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period of heavy downpour, strict compliance to this warning is expected from all stakeholders as maximum sanction shall be imposed for non-compliance,” NCAA stated.