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Harmattan: NiMet allays concerns over flight diversion

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has assured air passengers there will be no flight diversion as a result of poor visibility this harmattan season.

The Director General, NiMET, Mansur Matazu, who gave the assurance during an award ceremony in Lagos, said the navigation facilities – called the CAT 3 Instrument Landing Systems – had been calibrated.

The facilities are designed to aid the seamless landing of aircraft during the Harmattan season.

Professor Matazu explained that the dry season was associated with influx of dust from the Lake Chad and parts of Niger Republic, which normally comes with a strange wind that impairs vision.

“…This season is associated with poor visibility, and when the visibility is so poor that you cannot have a clear horizontal vision, some airports will have delays – takeoffs and landing of aircraft – and sometimes extending to the night time when they can use the lighting of the runway,” the NIMet boss said.

“Actually, the main challenge that time was the calibration of the CAT3 ILS which has been successfully done in all the major airports…We work in harmony with all the aviation agencies and specially for NAMA, they directly consume our services,” Professor Matazu added.

NIMet officials have consistently informed passengers that its pilot briefing rooms, whether at the Lagos or Abuja airports, have been upgraded and. They have also promised that the inauguration of the centres would happen sooner rather than later.

Professor Matazu said it was incumbent on the airlines to encourage pilots and crew members to always approach the briefing rooms for proper updates.

According to the NiMET boss, the Agency is also deploying what he called runway visual range, which is an additional aid vision machine along the runway that can allow aircraft to land and takeoff at weather minimal level, which is about 300 metres.

Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare and Tony Okerafor