Harmattan – that season for dry weather condition that comes with dusty haze, making it difficult to see clearly what is ahead of you is almost here.

The people whose business it affects most are airline operators.

On the road, you can drive slowly or just pack your car until visibility improves, but if an aircraft has taken off, there is no parking space in the cloud.

That is why, the aviation regulator in Nigeria, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has asked airline operators and their pilots to observe safety precautions as the harmattan weather begins.

The NCAA said all the rules in line with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations on flight operations in adverse weather conditions should be observed.

According to a statement signed by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, the warning had been sent in an advisory circular with reference no. AC: NCAA-AEROMET- 26 and signed by the Director General of the NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, to all pilots and airline operators.

Also Read: What Experts Want Done To Avoid Plane Crash As Harmattan Approaches

The regulatory agency said the warning became imperative as the end of rainfall would likely herald a long and severe dust haze in the months ahead.

“With this information, pilots are expected to be cautious and uphold standard and recommended practices while conducting flights during hazardous weather associated with dust haze at this period. This haze comes with a dry and dusty wind that blows southwards from the Sahara across Nigeria in the months of November to March.

“Consequently, pilots should note that air-to-ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to the dust haze.  In addition, aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima and in severe conditions; dust haze can blot out runways, the markers and airfield lightings over wide areas. This makes visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible,” the statement said.

It noted that “where visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flight operations are expected to be delayed, diverted or cancelled”.

“Therefore, to reiterate; all pilots are obliged to exercise maximum restraint especially when severe weather condition is observed or forecast by NIMET,” the statement added.

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