Passengers were left stranded on Saturday at the Ilorin International Airport, as poor weather conditions forced airline operators to cancel scheduled flights.
None of the Aircraft of the three commercial airlines, Arik Air, Overland Airways and Medview Airline, operating on the Abuja and Lagos routes, landed at the airport.
Medview Airline and Overland Airways cancelled flights schedules for the day, while passengers were seen loitering around the airport premises.
However, announcement to that effect was not made by the airlines, which caused anxiety among the passengers.
Some of the passengers who spoke to Pilot Aviation complained that the airliners did not make announcement of the flight cancellation.
“Although it is for our safety that the flight were cancelled because of the bad weather, which could make visibility poor, but the airlines did not deem it fit to make formal announcement like it is done in advanced countries, ” one of them had lamented to our reporter.
Speaking on the development, the Airspace Manager ay the airport, Engr. Rotimi Ayeni said the airlines were duly informed of the weather condition.
“We have observed the bad condition of the weather since morning and we have duly informed the airliners about it. Our job as Nigeria Airspace Management Agency is to ensure safety of the airlines at the airport when taking off and landing.
” It is unfortunate but safety is our priority and our air traffic controllers are on ground in collaboration with NiMet monitoring the situation. The weather is not safe for aircraft to land.
Ayeni urged the passengers to show understanding as safety of the aviation sector lies on all the stakeholders.
…as NCAA calls for passengers restraint
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the weekend called on all passengers to exercise restraint and avoid attacking airline officials owing to adverse weather which may lead to flight cancellations and hamper their travel plans. Making this call, General Manager, Public Relation, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said : “ This advice is important due to the spate of delays and cancellations occasioned by inclement weather en route most of the nation’s airports”.
During the week, most parts of the country, especially the northern part, witnessed adverse weather conditions which prevented most scheduled and non-scheduled flights from providing services. Earlier, the regulatory authority, NCAA, had issued a Weather Alert Circular to all Pilots and Airline Operators on the impending adverse weather. The circular forewarned all operators on the inherent danger associated with harmattan dust haze as regards flight operations at this time of the year. Adurogboye therefore said:“The prevailing weather condition is likely to herald a long and severe dust haze in the months ahead. During this period, air- to– ground visibility may be considerably reduced due to the dust haze”. “In addition, aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima due to the severe conditions. Dust haze can blot runways, the markings and airfield lightings over wide areas.
These make visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible. Under these kinds of adverse conditions air travel is bound to suffer delays and cancellations “. “Passengers are therefore advised to exercise restraint when their travels suffer these fates. Pilots are merely observing what is contained in the departure, en route and destination weather which might sometimes necessitate outright cancellation”. “When these happen, the Airline and the Pilots are strictly adhering to the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
However, operating airlines are expected to share as much information as possible with passengers on the progress of their respective flights in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015 Part 19”.
“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) therefore wishes to advise all passengers to cooperate with the airlines as safety of lives and security cannot be compromised”, he added. NCAA cautions airlines, pilots against flying in adverse weather NCAA warned airlines and pilots to ensure they get adequate weather information on departure, en route and destination from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NIMET, before embarking on flight operations.