The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued weather Advisory Circular (AC) to the industry, indicating that the nation has witnessed about 94 thunderstorms in different areas of the country.
Demanding for a strict compliance, NCAA quoted statistics from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) as saying that most of the airports have 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 objective of the AC, NCAA pointed out, is to bring pilots and operators up to date on the occurrence of thunderstorm phenomenon over Nigerian airports since the onset of rainy season in the country.
In the circular issued today and signed by NCAA Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the purpose of this AC is to bring forth the evolving weather information which could adversely affect safe and efficient flight operations post Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the circular, 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 rainy season; therefore, all stakeholders are expected to perform their roles as stated below in order to ensure safety of flight operations, the AC said.
In the statement, NCAA noted that “by this circular, 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” .
It added that “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”.
“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. The Authority will expect strict compliance to this circular from all stakeholders and violation would be viewed seriously”, NCAA stated.