The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has appealed to air passengers for their understanding over the prevailing flight delays and cancellations experienced in airports across the country due to the adverse weather situation.

The NCAA, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said that the prevailing inclement weather is a global experience at the moment, which had warranted cancellation of in-bound international flights alike; and istherefore, not peculiar to Nigeria.

Earlier, the Authority had urged pilots, operators and other stakeholders to exercise restraints over harmattan dust haze and safety approach to adopt.

In an Advisory Circular, NCAA-AEROMET-28, the regulatory agency had alerted pilots of the hazards associated with dust haze, a dry and dusty wind that blows south from the Sahara across Nigeria, and is expected to persist till March, 2020.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, in its seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, had predicted the cessation of the rainy season from mid-October (in the Northern part) to early December, 2019 (in the Southern part).

Subsequently, pilots/flight operators are therefore directed to note the following hazards and operational problems forthwith in the interest of safety: air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to dust haze; fall in aerodrome visibility may go below the prescribed operating minima and in severe conditions, dust haze can blot out runways, markers and airfield lightings over wide areas, making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible; and following from these, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed aerodrome operating minima.

Similarly, responsibilities of pilots, operators and air traffic controllers, ATCs, are enunerated to include: exercise of maximum restraint by pilots whenever severe weather conditions are observed or predicted by NIMET; adherence to aerodrome weather minima must be ensured by flight crews/operators and ATCs; adequate departure, en-route, destination and alternate aerodromes weather information and briefing from the aerodrome meteoroligical office must be obtained by pilots prior to flight operations; and necessary measures must be put in place by operators to cushion the effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers.

NCAA also said that passengers must be informed of any development concerning their flights well ahead of time by the airlines, adding that it expects strict compliance from all stakeholders regarding the circular, it will view with all seriousness any violation.

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