NCAA warns pilots, airlines over adverse weather
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned pilots to be wary of severe thunderstorms and other hazardous weather changes during the rainy season.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, in a memo to the airlines, also made available to the media said the warning was in line with an earlier Advisory Circular (AC), with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 31, addressed to all pilots and airline operators over weather vicissitudes.
Indeed, some local airlines have been experiencing turbulent weather to the discomfort of the travelling public. Recently, video footage showing distressed passengers alight from one of the local airlines at Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) went viral. The aircraft had to make a turbulent air return over bad weather at its Abuja destination.
Nuhu noted that the warning was imperative, given the latest Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for the year 2021, suggesting more bad weather in the days ahead.
NIMET had predicted early/late March as the commencement of the rainy season in the Southern states while late April/June 2021 is the commencement of the rainy season in the Central and Northern parts of Nigeria.
“Consequently, this weather advisory circular is necessary to bring forth the evolving weather information associated with the commencement of the rainy season and the effects on safety and efficiency of flight operations; and to elicit the cooperation of stakeholders to ensure safe air transport at all times,” Nuhu stated.
Pilots, operators, and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) were directed to take on a series of responsibilities. These include: Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close the airspace when any of the conditions forecast by NIMET is observed. Flight Crews/Operators and ATCs are to ensure adherence to published aerodrome weather minima.
Pilots are to exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET; and Pilots/Flight Crew members are to 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 the sanction shall be imposed for non-compliance,” the memo read in part.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema, has rallied Nigerians to unity, saying Nigerians are better as one nation.
Onyema made the call when he addressed passengers onboard Flight 7120 operated by the airline’s Boeing 777 from Lagos to Abuja.
He said the current challenges could be the key that would unlock the full potential of the country to rise to its greatness if the citizens would work together.
“Nigeria is for all of us. We don’t need to balkanize this country; we don’t know what we have, having this country called Nigeria. Our diversity should be our strength and not our albatross. The diversity we have is the best thing that can ever happen to this nation. Let us make it work; let us stop engaging in blame games. Let us stop engaging in the stigmatization of ethnicities, let us work as Nigerians,” he told passengers.
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