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NCAA, NAMA review weather guidelines for 18 airports

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in partnership with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has reviewed the aerodrome operating weather minima for 18 airports across the country.

The operating weather guideline resets the minimum level of visibility to as low as 150 metres Runway Visual Range (RVR) at which aircraft can either take off or land at the airports.

Among the airports where the new minimum visibility level applies are those in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Dutse, Eket and Enugu. Others are Gombe, Ilorin, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola and Zaria.

The exercise is in compliance with the provision of Part 8 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs Part 8), and in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Doc.9365.

Spokesman of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the regulatory authorities took cognizance of improvements in visual and navigational aids within the affected airports.

The agency said the reviewed would enhance the operating capacity of the aerodromes by availing the operators with improved minima for low visibility operations.

“According to the review, the landing minima specified for all the 18 airports were determined based on applicable criteria as defined in the ICAO PANS-OPS Doc. 8168, Doc.9365. These include all relevant amendments, as well as available navigational facilities (ILS,VOR/DME) or PBN Navigational Specification (RNAV/GNSS).

“On the other hand, the reviewed operating minima provided for a performance based takeoff minima for the affected aerodromes in Nigeria is determined by available visual aids for takeoff. These are runway centre lights, touchdown zone lights, runway edge lights, threshold lights, runway end lights and runway surface markings,” he said.

The last time weather minima were reviewed in the country was in 1983. However, a semblance of revision undertaken in 1993 only stated that the takeoff minima shall be equal or greater than landing minima at all airports. This is to allow for an air return to the same airport should there arise an emergency.

This present review allows for takeoff as low as 150 metres RVR while some airports in the country with Category Two Instrument Landing Systems (ILS Cat II) can permit landing with 300 metres RVR.

Before this review, the lowest visibility with Category Two ILS in the nation’s airports was 800 metres/550 RVR.

Based on the review, Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Ilorin, Gombe, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola, Dutse, Calabar and Enugu airports now have ILS Cat II Approach and Landing Minima.

Adurogboye stated: “The implementation of these revised aerodrome operating minima (both takeoff and landing) shall be based on compliance with applicable standard operating procedures for low visibility operations at the affected airports. This is executed by flight crew, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), aerodrome operators and meteorological agency.

“To ensure the seamless operation of these revised minima, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) shall continue to ensure prompt and regular provision of required meteorological information to all ATC units in the airports. These will include flight visibility and Runway Visual Range (RVR) values. Thus NiMET and NAMA shall ensure constant updating of the Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) with the available RVR values as appropriate.”

All airlines, aerodrome operators and air navigation service providers are required to ensure adequate training of their personnel and flight crew that would be involved in low visibility operations.

The air navigation service provider is expected to ensure regular flight calibration of all available navigational aids. This is to ensure safe and efficient flight operations, especially during low visibility operations.


In this article:
NAMANCAASam Adurogboye
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