Nigerian regulators clear Azman Air to resume flight operations

*We can assure the general public that it is the beginning of a new experience, and we remain committed to raising the standard when it comes to the safety of the crew, equipment, and passengers, says Azman Air

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Following a six-week grounding of its aircraft in the country, the Nigerian aviation authorities have cleared Azman Air to resume flying.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had suspended Azman Air in mid-March 2021 after several incidents involving the undercarriage on Azman Air Boeing 737 aircraft.

Recall the first safety breach occurred February 10, 2021, at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, FCT, during a routine NCAA inspection.

An Azman Air maintenance engineer was seen replacing the right-hand main landing gear wheel assembly (3 and 4) without referring to Boeing’s maintenance manual, report stated.

The aircraft in question was a 23.6 year old Boeing 737-500 with the registration 5N-SYS.

During takeoff a day later from Kaduna International Airport (KAD), a component of the aircraft was observed to have fallen off.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) notified the captain, who elected to continue the flight to Lagos.

Upon arrival in Lagos, the captain failed to make an entry in the aircraft technical logbook.

Azman Air maintenance was told that something might have fallen off the plane and, upon inspection, identified the missing part as being the heat shield from the number three landing gear.

The maintenance team did not replace the missing part nor enter it in the logbook but cleared the plane to continue flying.

Subsequently, the NCAA inspectors were notified, and grounded the aircraft when it arrived at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) in Abuja. Azman Air was told that the aircraft could not fly until repairs were carried out and that the NCAA had opened an investigation.

While the investigation was ongoing, the same Boeing 737 February 16, was reported to have suffered burst tyres while landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, in Lagos.

The incident caused severe damage to the aircraft’s fuselage and engine.

Subsequently, the NCAA grounded Azman Air 737 series March 19, 2021, describing  Azman Air as having an alarming number of tyre failures combined with improper maintenance procedures.

The regulators described the situation as a “clear and strong indication of an accident chain formation in its final stages.”

The Nigerian aviation authorities, according to FlightGlobal, an aviation Web site, as said: “No responsible civil aviation authority will fold its arms and wait for the next incident to occur, perhaps a fatal accident, before taking action.”

Sequel to the suspension, Azman Air says it met with the NCAA May 1, 2021, after having undergone a comprehensive safety audit, and had implemented the corrected measures that were recommended.

Azman, in a statement quoted a communication from the aviation authorities, that the NCAA had reviewed the Azman Air plans and found them to be “satisfactory”, and that it “hereby lifts the suspension with regards to the operations of Avman Air Boeing 737s.”

The aviation firm said: “We can assure the general public that it is the beginning of a new experience.

“We remain committed to raising the standard when it comes to the safety of the crew, equipment, and passengers.”

Nigerian businessman billionaire Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina founded Azman Air in 2010, and the airline was established to provide domestic flights from its main base at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in the country.

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