Inclement weather inflicts more pains on air travellers
HUNDREDS of passengers are stranded in airports across the federation due to the harmattan haze which forced many airliners to reschedule flights, The Guardian has learnt.
It was further gathered that many airlines had cancelled flights owing to poor visibility.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed that airlines and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) should decline clearance for pilots if weather visibility is less than 800 metres.
The regulator had, as part of its yearly notice to airlines, warned pilots in the country to be careful at this period when the airspace is being threatened by haze. It said the warning has become necessary, as the inclement weather tends to blur visibility and sometimes gives rise to low-level wind shear that may hamper air safety.
According to NCAA, the effect of harmattan is comparable to that of heavy fog, which tries to reduce air-to-ground visibility considerably, adding that aerodrome visibility may nose-dive beyond the official minima and in severe conditions, dust haze could blot out runways, markers and airfield lightings over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible.
“Where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled. Consequently, pilots shall exercise maximum restraint when strong surface wind, fog or harmattan haze is observed or forecast,” NCAA warned.