NCAA, NAMA, review 18 airports operating weather minima

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have carried out a review of aerodrome operating weather minima for 18 airports in the country.

The General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, made this known in a statement issued on Wednesday in Lagos. Adurogboye said the review was in compliance with the provision of Part 8 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs Part 8), and in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Doc.9365.

“In this review, the regulatory authority took cognisance of improvements in visual and navigational aids within the affected airports. The reviewed aerodrome operating minima will serve to enhance the operating capacity of the aerodromes.

“This is due to the fact that it will avail the operators with improved minima for low visibility operations.”

Adurogboye said according to the review, the landing minima specified for all the 18 airports were determined based on applicable criteria as defined in the ICAO PANS-OPS Doc. 8168 and Doc.9365.

He said they included all relevant amendments as well as available navigational facilities (ILS, VOR/DME) or PBN Navigational Specification (RNAV/GNSS).

“On the other hand, the reviewed operating minima provided for a performance based takeoff for the affected aerodromes in Nigeria are determined by available visual aids for takeoff.

“These are Runway Centre Lights, Touchdown Zone lights, Runway Edge Lights, Threshold Lights, Runway End Lights and Runway Surface Markings.

“The 18 aerodromes where the operating minima and takeoff minima has been reviewed are Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Dutse, Eket and Enugu.

“Others are Gombe, Ilorin, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola and Zaria,” Adurogboye added.

He said it should be noted that the last time weather minima were actually reviewed was in 1983.

“However, a semblance of revision undertaken in 1993 only stated that the takeoff minima will be equal or greater than landing minima at all airports.’’

Adurogboye said this was to allow for an air return to the same airport should there arise an emergency.

“However, this present review allows for takeoff as low as 150 metres Runway Visual Range (RVR).

“While some airports in the country with Category Two Instrument Landing Systems (ILS Cat II) can permit landing with 300 metres Runway Visual Range (RVR).

“Before this review, the lowest visibility with Category Two ILS in the nation’s airports was 800 metres/550 RVR (Runway Visual Range).

Adurogboye said based on the review, the Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Ilorin, Gombe, Owerri, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola, Dutse, Calabar and Enugu airports now had ILS Cat II Approach and Landing Minima.

He said the implementation of these revised aerodrome operating minima (both takeoff and landing) would be based on compliance with applicable Standard Operating Procedures for Low Visibility Operations at the affected airports.

“This is executed by Flight Crew, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), Aerodrome Operators and the Meteorological Agency.

“To ensure the seamless operation of these revised minima, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) shall continue to ensure prompt and regular provision of required meteorological information.

“These will include flight visibility and Runway Visual Range (RVR) values to all ATC units in the airports.

“Thus NiMET and NAMA shall ensure constant updating of the Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) with the available RVR values as appropriate,” Adurogboye said.

He said all airlines, aerodrome operators and air navigation service providers were required to ensure adequate training of their personnel and flight crew that would be involved in low visibility operations.

Adurogboye said the air navigation service provider was expected to ensure regular flight calibration of all available navigational aids.

He said this was to ensure safe and efficient flight operations, especially during low visibility operations.

Adurogboye said the NCAA would continue to provide a proactive regulatory oversight that would ensure safety and security of all flight operations.