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Traffic Controllers can shutdown airspace during raining season, NCAA advises operators, pilots

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Abiola Seun

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Tuesday, disclosed that Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), may temporarily shutdown the nation’s airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorm, squall lines microburst or level wind-shear are forecast by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).

In a Advisory Circular by the Directorate of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), addressed to all Pilots and Airline Operators by the Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu and a copy made available to newsmen ,NCAA advised Pilots and Airline Operators to exercise caution over aviation hazardous weather during the rainy season.

The circular, it was gathered, was coming on the advent of the Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP), released for the year 2022 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).

Recall that NiMET had predicted early/late March as the commencement of rainy season across the Southern states while April/May and June, 2022 is the onset of rainy season in Central and Northern parts of Nigeria.

According to the NCAA, their is need for all stakeholders to perform their roles to ensure safety of flight operations in the nation’s aviation sector.

It reads, “Rainy season, at outset, is usually characterized with severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomenal such as severe turbulence, microburst, low level wind shear events that could affect the safety of flight operations.

“Hence, the need for all stakeholders to perform their roles as stated in order to ensure safety of flight operations.”

The NCAA, therefore, enumerated the responsibility for Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), in the interest of safety to include that, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) may temporarily close the airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorm, squall lines microburst or level wind-shear are forecast by NIMET.

“For Pilots and Flight Crew/Operators, they shall ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima, exercise maximum restraint whenever adverse weather is observed or forecast by NIMET.”

“Pilots /Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meterelogical Stations prior to flight operations”.

“In view of the above, operators are 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 occasioned by hazardous severe weather during rainy season in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19”.

“While the Authority urges all passengers to exercise patience and understanding during this period as their safety is of utmost importance, stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously.”

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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