Flight disruptions loom as rainy season begins

Ahead of the commencement of the 2019 rainy season, the airspace may be shut more often by the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) due to adverse weather condition usually experienced during the period.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) had released the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) indicating that rainy season would commence in March/April and May/June 2019 in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria.

Daily Trust reports that this is the period of the year when passengers experience many flight delays and in some cases cancellations.

To this end, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised Pilots and Airline Operators to exercise caution during flight operations in hazardous weather conditions.

The warning in response to NIMET’s SRP was contained in an Advisory Circular (AC) with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 27 addressed to all Pilots and Airline Operators and signed by the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman.

The rainy season is usually accompanied with turbulence in addition to microburst, low level wind shear and sometimes events that could affect the safety of flight operations.

“With this information, it is expected that Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) may temporarily close the airspace when there are adverse weather conditions,” the NCAA said in a statement by the General Manager, Public Relations of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye in a statement.

The authority urged Flight Crews/Operators and ATCs to ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima in line with standard and recommended practices.

Besides, it advised that all pilots were obliged “to exercise maximum restraint whenever severe weather condition is observed or forecast by NIMET.”

The NCAA urged pilot and crew members to 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.

The statement said, “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.”

It urged all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period, saying, “their safety is of utmost importance” while advising stakeholders to ensure strict compliance to safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously.

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