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Scary Revelation: We Grounded AZMAN Operations Because It Was Tragedy Waiting To Happen- NCAA

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The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Friday, exposed the many infractions of AZMAN Air, stating that it grounded the airline’s operations to avert tragedy.

The NCAA made the disclosure in the wake of the airline’s protest against the suspension of its flight operations by the aviation regulator.

Citing safety reasons, the NCAA said it could not ignore the AZMAN Air’s involvement in three incidents in the last six weeks thus it suspended the airline’s flights to enable it carry out safety and technical audit of its operations.

Protesting the suspension, however, the airline claimed that other carriers that experienced similar incidents have not been grounded.

This is coming on the heels of accusations levelled against the Director General (DG) of the NCAA, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, after its operations were grounded due to safety reasons.

However, the NCAA, on Friday, cited many infractions committed by the airline, stressing that it could not be blackmailed by an erring operator.

In a statement by the General Manager, Public Affairs, Samuel Adurogboye, the NCAA said its action was motivated by safety considerations.

According to the statement: “Over a period of about six weeks, AZMAN Air Boeing 737 aircraft operating scheduled passenger flights were involved in three separate incidents, resulting in damage to the aircraft in each case but with no loss of life, for which we are grateful to God.

“During a routine ramp inspection on February 10, 2021, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, NCAA inspectors found an AZMAN Air maintenance engineer carrying out replacement of the right-hand main landing gear wheel assembly (nos. 3 and 4) of their Boeing 737-500 aircraft with registration 5N-SYS, without referring to the manufacturer’s maintenance manual.

“This is a violation of the Civil Aviation Regulations, for which both Azman Air and the engineer have been sanctioned but are yet to  pay the fine.

“On February 11, 2021, AZMAN Air flight AZM 2318 operated with the same Boeing 737-500 aircraft with registration 5N-SYS, and departed Kaduna for Lagos. During take-off, a component of the aircraft was observed to have fallen off the aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC) notified the Captain, who elected to continue the flight to Lagos. Upon arrival Lagos, the Captain failed to make entry in the aircraft technical logbook.

“The AZMAN Air maintenance team on ground Lagos was notified of the detached part and carried out an inspection, which identified the missing part as the no 3 Main Landing Gear (MLG) heat shield.

“However, the maintenance team neither made an entry in the technical logbook nor rectified the defect but released the aircraft for a scheduled passenger flight from Lagos to Abuja.

“NCAA inspectors in Abuja were notified and promptly grounded the aircraft, until the defect was rectified, before releasing the aircraft for resumption of flight operations.”

The NCAA stated further that, “A Letter of Investigation was issued to AZMAN Air, and  investigations are ongoing. Exactly five days later, on 16th of February, 2021, when the previous incident was still under investigation, AZMAN flight AZM 2325, with the same Boeing 737-500 aircraft with registration 5N-SYS, suffered burst tyres while landing in Lagos, with resultant severe damage to the aircraft engine and fuselage.

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