Storm forces diversion of flights

MUSCAT, SEPT 24 – All aircraft that use Duqm, Masirah and South Al Sharqiyah airspace have been advised to use alternative routes in view of Hikka, according to the Department of Air Navigation Services at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA).
“We exchange flight controls and air navigation on hotline with UAE, Saudi, Yemen, Iran, Pakistan and India. We have advised them in advance to take diversion,” Hamed al Abri, Director-General of Air Navigation Services told the Observer.
Nearly 300 flights use Duqm, Masirah and South Al Sharqiyah airspace on a given day depending upon the day of operation and time of the day. Muscat area is busier than the rest of the country and PACA has a special procedure at times of adverse weather conditions and the system follows that, he said. Nasser bin Salim al Mazroui, Chief of Muscat Area Control Centre at the Department, said that during a bad weather, pilots should be cautious and not use the normal air routes.
“As it is notified in the NOTAM, we advise them to move left or right according to the situation,” he said.
“So, we will extend the distance between the two aircraft. And we have the radar which will identify the exact position of the aircraft, according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations,” he said. Airlines will not be allowed to fly through the Cumulonimbus clouds because they are dense and vertical. Also, they are formed from water vapour carried by powerful upward air currents.
The Department of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance Systems (CNS) has ensured that the radio communication and air navigation systems will not have an impact from the storm and rains.
In case of any harm, there are alternative radio systems in place to provide accurate information.
“For air navigation services, there are a number of equipment that could be used by the air navigation control.
“We use a number of communication radios in Duqm. As we understand that the Duqm Airport falls in the Hikka route, it may affect the services but we have alternative devices that will compensate for any communication issues or degradation of services,” Saleh bin Abdullah al Harthy, Director, CNS, said.
Similarly, these services which are in place will not make the impact felt to the airlines and will be solved accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Duqm Special Economic Zone and shipyard officials have informed that the employees have been shifted to safer places.