By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the operations of all the Boeing 737 aircraft in the fleet of Azman Air Services Limited over safety concerns after a series of incidents.
Daily Sun has learnt that, contrary to reports, the decision to suspend the airline’s operations was not taken by the airline but by the NCAA at a management meeting on Monday, March 15. This was after one of its aircrafts recorded a second incident in a month involving a burst tyre. After the meeting, the Director-General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, directed that a letter be written to the airline notifying it of the Agency’s decision, which he said takes immediate effect.
The statement signed by Nuhi read:
‘Following series of incidents involving Azman Air Boeing 737 aircraft, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has pursuant to Section 35 (2) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 188.8.131.52 (A) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015, suspended the operations of all the Boeing 737 Aircraft in the Fleet of Azman Air Services Limited, with effect from March 15, 2021.
‘The suspension is to enable the Authority conduct an audit of the airline to determine the root cause(s) of the incidents, and recommend corrective actions to forestall re-occurrence. The NCAA regrets the inconvenience this action may cause to the public, particularly to Azman Air passengers but the need to ensure the safety of Air Transport and protect the public interest, cannot be compromised.
‘The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will continue to ensure compliance to its regulations in the interest of safety and will viewed any violation(s) seriously.’
Earlier in the day, Azman Air, which has its hub in Kano and operates flights to at least 10 cities, put out a statement on Twitter, telling the public that it would be undergoing an audit of its safety processes and would suspend all its operations.
‘AzmanAir will be undergoing an Audit of its safety processes as supervised by the regulators. In this regards, all our operations is hereby suspended. We are on our toes to restore operations within a short period. We understand the impact of these disruptions on your travels and we deeply apologise. These actions are imminent as there is need for reposition to serving you better,’ the tweet said.
We understand the impact of these disruptions on your Travels and we deeply apologize
These actions ARE imminent as there is need for reposition to serving you better.
We are setting an unrivaled Pace to showcase our commitment to your safety and we Promise to be BACK & BETTER! pic.twitter.com/rKmOjzbkjG
— AzmanAir – #LetsFlyAzmanAir (@AzmanAir) March 16, 2021
There have been serious incidents involving the airline in recent weeks, and in one instance the tyre of one of its Boeing 737-500 aircrafts burst on landing at the runway of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport terminal in Lagos on February 16, causing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to temporarily close Runway 18R/36L.
Another flight from Kaduna to Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos had a landing gear problem and the NCAA faulted the pilot that flew the aircraft saying that despite the unpleasant sound which was noticed after takeoff, he continued with the journey.
Meanwhile, FAAN has temporarily diverted all human and cargo movement to the D-Finger screening as a result of the maintenance and upgrade at the E-Finger departure screening point.
A statement issued by General Manager, Corporate Affairs Henrietta Yakubu, read:
‘The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public that, as part of our maintenance and upgrade program, the E-Finger departure screening point has been temporarily closed to carry out some routine maintenance on the screening machines.
‘Consequently, all human and cargo movement have been temporarily diverted to the D-Finger screening area until the maintenance and upgrade is completed. The Authority appeals to passengers and other airport users to please bear with us, as we hope to reopen the area as soon as possible.’