Meteorological information is crucial for the safe, efficient, economical and environmentally friendly operation of civil aviation.
Weather conditions at ground level and altitude, such as thunderstorms, strong winds, fog, heavy snowfall and icing, can pose significant risks to an aircraft's performance and passengers' safety. Up-to-date weather forecasts help pilots, air traffic controllers, airline operations and others to prepare for and avoid hazardous weather conditions.
National meteorological services and other designated agencies worldwide are responsible for providing a wide range of meteorological services, including observations, forecasts and warnings, on a 24/7 basis to the aviation industry. This information guides the day-to-day operations of pilots, air traffic controllers, airline operators, flight dispatchers, aircraft ground handling agents and airport operators.
Weather information helps to make informed decisions about:
- Safety – avoiding or preparing aircraft for hazardous weather conditions such as turbulence and icing.
- Flight schedules - Adverse weather conditions such as strong winds can cause flight delays or cancellations; airlines can use this information to advise passengers how their flight might be affected.
- Flight planning – Wind speed, turbulence and visibility among others can affect flight routes. Pilots use weather information to plan their flights.
- Air traffic management - Weather data is used to anticipate and manage congestion, reroute flights, and maintain safe separation between aircraft.
- Airport Operations - Weather conditions can impact airport operations, including runway conditions, visibility, and the ability to take off and land safely. Airports rely on weather information to make decisions regarding runway usage, de-icing procedures, and overall airport operations management including the loading and unloading of aircraft.