Harmattan Dust Causes Flight Delay, Airlines Suffer Losses
Flight operations in Nigeria have been disrupted in the past two weeks by harmattan haze with accompanied dusts which blurred visibility.
The situation has led to delay in over 50 per cent of flights operated at the domestic level.
Investigations showed that the North East, South East and South-South are mostly affected by the harmattan haze.
Though, there have not been much cancellations of flights, flights were being delayed while some flights were diverted when aircraft could not land due to poor visibility occasioned by the harmattan haze.
It can be recalled that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had issued weather alert circular to pilots and operators to take sufficient safety precautions over the harmattan haze.
An Airline source told our correspondent yesterday that the harmattan haze was responsible for recent delays experienced nationwide with passengers grumbling.
Airlines including Azman, Air Peace, Dana, Arik, among others are affected by the development.
Spokesman of Air Peace, Chris Iwarah told our correspondent yesterday that the harmattan haze has been affecting their flights and adding to their cost of operation since they had to divert flights in some cases.
He said, “It has begun to gradually affect operations. Sometimes flights are diverted to other destinations or delayed at the point of departure, thus affecting all routes to be serviced by the aircraft.
“This also means added cost for us, as we now burn more fuel and incur other associated expenses. But we are strategically handling the situation with the size of our fleet without compromising safety, which is at the core of our operations.”
Also speaking, Mr. Saminu Tanko, an official with Azman Air said though the Airline had not canceled its flights, many were delayed, adding that the far Northern States like Bornu, Kano and Adamawa were being worst hit.
Tanko however confirmed that the situation was better this year because of improved Instrument Landing System (ILS) facilities provided by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).