Internal flights cancelled due to severe harmattan (Front page)

The foggy weather the country is experiencing as a result of the severe harmattan has taken its toll on the domestic airline industry. 

The domestic airlines have either suspended or cancelled flights to the major cities of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.

The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMET) last week advised pilots and motorists to exercise extreme caution to curtail potential accidents resulting from poor visibility. 
Antrak Air
Antrak and other local airlines have suspended or cancelled their flights because of poor visibility.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on December 8, last year, issued a similar weather alert to all pilots, indicating that the hazards associated with harmattan dust haze could affect flight operations. 

Flights to and from Tamale have been temporarily suspended following the harsh harmattan conditions prevailing in the Northern Regional capital. 

The situation has prevented flights from taking off and landing at the Tamale Airport since Friday, last week  due to low visibility at 400 metres.

The hazy weather is, however, not standing in the way of international flights.

Scheduled flights leaving and coming to Ghana are landing and taking off smoothly, in spite of last Saturday’s accident in which an Ethiopian Airline cargo plane skidded off the runway. 

Industry players confirm cancellations
The Chief Executive Officer of Starbow, Mr James E. Antwi, confirmed that the airline had cancelled all its flights because of the weather.

“The weather is bad this year. It is off the legal limits for us to fly, so we cancelled all the flights,” he said.

He was, however, hopeful that the situation would change from tomorrow, saying although visibility was poor, the wind remained calm.

Calls to Fly Africa World officials were not returned, but a customer care official confirmed that the airline’s flights had been cancelled because of the bad weather. 

“The weather has not affected international flights at all,” the Manager of Corporate Communications of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Mr Eric Mireku Amaning, said.

In spite of the numerous flight cancellations, employees of the Ghana Airports Company Limited in Tamale were at post yesterday when the Daily Graphic visited the Tamale Airport to access the situation, contrary to earlier media reports that the Tamale Airport had been closed down as a result of the cancellation of all commercial flights to Tamale due to poor visibility in the region.

"If anybody would close down the airport, then it would be me, but as you are talking to me now, we are working and all the staff are at post. The only thing is that flights from Accra to the Tamale Airport have been cancelled as a result of the poor visibility we have experienced since last Friday," the Manager of the Tamale Airport, Mr Michael Omane Mensah, explained in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

 He said until the airport received further information that visibility had improved, all flights from Accra to Tamale and back would remain cancelled.

He said visibility should be between 3,000 to 4,000 metres before flights could land at the Tamale Airport and that from Friday till yesterday visibility had been 400 metres, which was risky for flights to land at the airport.

"Until the weather is clear, I cannot say when flights will resume in Tamale," he added.

Mr Mensah stated that although the Tamale Airport had a remote system (emergency lighting system) in place, it was only used in emergency situations and also for only take-off in the evening and not for landing.     
The foggy weather the country is experiencing as a result of the severe harmattan has taken its toll on the domestic airline industry.
The domestic airlines have either suspended or cancelled flights to the major cities of Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and Tamale.
The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMET) last week advised pilots and motorists to exercise extreme caution to curtail potential accidents resulting from poor visibility.
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on December 8, last year, issued a similar weather alert to all pilots, indicating that the hazards associated with harmattan dust haze could affect flight operations.
Flights to and from Tamale have been temporarily suspended following the harsh harmattan conditions prevailing in the Northern Regional capital.
The situation has prevented flights from taking off and landing at the Tamale Airport since Friday, last week  due to low visibility at 400 metres.
The hazy weather is, however, not standing in the way of international flights.
Scheduled flights leaving and coming to Ghana are landing and taking off smoothly, in spite of last Saturday’s accident in which an Ethiopian Airline cargo plane skidded off the runway.

Industry players confirm cancellations

The Chief Executive Officer of Starbow, Mr James E. Antwi, confirmed that the airline had cancelled all its flights because of the weather.
“The weather is bad this year. It is off the legal limits for us to fly, so we cancelled all the flights,” he said.
He was, however, hopeful that the situation would change from tomorrow, saying although visibility was poor, the wind remained calm.
Calls to Fly Africa World officials were not returned, but a customer care official confirmed that the airline’s flights had been cancelled because of the bad weather.
“The weather has not affected international flights at all,” the Manager of Corporate Communications of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Mr Eric Mireku Amaning, said.
In spite of the numerous flight cancellations, employees of the Ghana Airports Company Limited in Tamale were at post yesterday when the Daily Graphic visited the Tamale Airport to access the situation, contrary to earlier media reports that the Tamale Airport had been closed down as a result of the cancellation of all commercial flights to Tamale due to poor visibility in the region.
"If anybody would close down the airport, then it would be me, but as you are talking to me now, we are working and all the staff are at post. The only thing is that flights from Accra to the Tamale Airport have been cancelled as a result of the poor visibility we have experienced since last Friday," the Manager of the Tamale Airport, Mr Michael Omane Mensah, explained in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
 He said until the airport received further information that visibility had improved, all flights from Accra to Tamale and back would remain cancelled.
He said visibility should be between 3,000 to 4,000 metres before flights could land at the Tamale Airport and that from Friday till yesterday visibility had been 400 metres, which was risky for flights to land at the airport.
"Until the weather is clear, I cannot say when flights will resume in Tamale," he added.
Mr Mensah stated that although the Tamale Airport had a remote system (emergency lighting system) in place, it was only used in emergency situations and also for only take-off in the evening and not for landing.
- See more at: http://graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/36844-internal-flights-cancelled-due-to-severe-harmattan.html#sthash.L2WkOM4Z.dpuf

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