Flight disruptions continue as harmattan bites harder

Massive flight disruptions continue yesterday following nationwide harmattan haze which has reduced visibility and hampered aircraft movement.

Since the commencement of the harmattan season which is expected to last till around March-April, many flights have been either cancelled or delayed.

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had in September last year urged pilots to exercise maximum restraint during harmattan season.

General Manager, Public Relations of NCAA Spokesman, Mr Sam Adurogboye said the season which has since commenced and would last till March 2020 as predicted by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) is hazardous to safe flight operations.

He said, “As issued by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency in its Seasonal Rainfall Prediction Bulletin-2019, the cessation of the rainy season is predicted from mid-October (in the Northern part) to early December, 2019 (in the Southern part).”

Pilots, Operators have been directed to note that during the period Air-to-ground visibility may be reduced considerably due to dust haze while airport visibility may fall 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.

It got worse last week as temperature reached an all-time lowest degree in some parts of the country. It was 6.7 degree Celcius in Jos, Plateau last week, as extreme cold hit the state.

The weather in Kano was not different as the state was said to be colder than London, United Kingdom.

With the climatic condition, flight operations have suffered massive disruption following low visibility and haze occasioned by harmattan.

Flights to Kano, Jos, and parts of the South-East and South-South were disrupted over the weekend.

It was learnt yesterday also that South-South and South-East are no go areas as the first flight to Port Harcourt International Airport landed around 3:30 p.m. Benin and Asaba were no-go areas.

“Coupled with the bush fire in Port Harcourt on Saturday and the Sunday morning disruptions, the first flight in the area has just landed,” a source said.

But the weather conditions improved yesterday. However, flight operations to Kano were restricted to night.

Spokesperson of Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa said the weather situation has caused massive delays.


Daily Trust

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