Harmattan Grounds Airlines Nationwide

 Harmattan Grounds Airlines Nationwide

harmattan-airportThe past few days has seen several flights cancelled due to thick fog caused by the harmattan, a situation that has left several passengers stranded across the country.
On the third of December, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority issued advisory circular to advice pilots about the hazards associated with current harmattan dust haze prevalent in some part of the country.
The advisory is in line with the forecast earlier made by NIMET which has indicated the occurrence of moderate to severe outbreaks of dust during the period of November 2016 – March 2017 in the country, predicting that it will on many occasions reduce Horizontal visibility significantly.
The impact of this forecast became evident on Christmas day, when many airlines delayed flight operations and later cancelled flights outright.
Due to the thick fog caused by the harmattan, it’s been difficult for flights to take off or land in certain areas in the country especially in Abuja and most South Eastern states.
The natural phenomenon which is costing airlines million already have left some passengers opting for the roads.
Some airlines like Arik, Aero, Air Peace, Azman, Dana, Medview have all been forced to cancel flights after visibility went down.
According to reports, the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Imo State, visibility was less than 300 metres, while Port Harcourt Airport is less than 800 metres. Murtala mohammed and Abuja airports also has visibility challenges.
Flying into these airports with less visibility requirement, will be a direct violation of NCAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on the harmattan haze. It however doesn’t make it any easier for the airlines who are groaning on the financial constraints this is causing.
While some airlines are managing communications with their customers better by issuing statements by mails and on social media platforms, others have subjected their passengers to the torture of finding out at the airport.
According to industry experts improving navigational and land equipment at the airports nationwide will reduce the number of flight delays and cancellations as well as the huge revenue loss for airlines and providers of auxiliary services.


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