Bad weather: NCAA issues weather advisory circular to pilots, airlines
• Empowers Controllers to temporarily shut down airspace during inclement weather
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued weather Advisory Circular (AC) to pilots and airline operators in Nigeria demanding strict compliance in view of the incessant occurrence of thunderstorms across the country’s airports.
The objective of this circular, according to the director-general of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu was to bring pilots and operators up to date on the occurrence of thunderstorm phenomenon over Nigerian airports since the onset of the rainy season in the country.
The statistics from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) according to Nuhu, so far indicated that most of the airports had recorded quite a number of thunderstorms between March and July 2020.
In the month of July 2020, NIMET data indicate the following number of thunderstorm occurrence: Abuja (23), Ikeja (8), Kano (24), Port Harcourt (11), Owerri (17) and Benin (11). In the same month, gustiness range between 22Kt and 42Kt at the listed airports.
The circular signed and issued by the NCAA DG, said the purpose of issuing the latest advisory circular was to bring forth the evolving weather information which could adversely affect safe and efficient flight operations post Covid-19 pandemic.
“Severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena such as severe turbulence, microburst, low-level wind shear and hail events that could affect the safety of flight operations are possible during the rainy season; therefore, all stakeholders are expected to perform their roles as stated below in order to ensure the safety of flight operations”.
As stated in the circular from NCAA, “Air Traffic controllers may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms squall lines microburst or low-level wind shear are observed or forecast by NIMET.
“Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima; Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET and Pilot / Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological offices prior to flight operations.”
NCAA again called for strict compliance to this circular from all stakeholders warning that violation would be viewed seriously.