As the rainy season draws nearer, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised pilots and airline operators to exercise caution during flight operations in hazardous weather conditions.

The regulatory agency, on Sunday, said it had sent out the warning in an advisory circular with reference no AC: NCAA-AEROMET – 27, signed by the Director-General, Capt. Muhtar Usman, to all pilots and airline operators.

The NCAA, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said, “The AC is a sequel to the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction released for the year 2019 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency. NIMET has predicted March/April and May/June 2019 as the commencement of rainy season in the southern and northern parts of Nigeria, which is usually accompanied with turbulence.

“This is in addition to a microburst, low-level wind share and sometimes events that could affect the safety of flight operations. With this information, it is expected that Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close the airspace when there are adverse weather conditions.”

The NCAA said flight crew, operators and ATCs should ensure strict adherence to aerodrome operating minima in line with standard and recommend practices.

It added that all pilots must exercise maximum restraint whenever severe weather condition was observed or forecast by NIMET.

It added, “For the purpose of safe flight operations, pilots and flight crew members should obtain adequate departure, en route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome meteorological offices situated in all the airports prior to flight operations.

“Operators are, therefore, required to play a key role in ensuring adequate measures are put in place to lessen the effects of the attendant flight delays and cancellations on their passengers as occasioned by the severe weather conditions in accordance with Nig. CARs, Part 19.”

The NCAA said all passengers must also exercise patience and understanding during the period as their safety remained of utmost importance.

“Stakeholders should ensure strict compliance to safety regulations as violations would be viewed seriously,” it added.