NCAA Lists Azman’s Safety Violations, Gives Conditions for Flight Resumption

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Chinedu Eze

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has listed safety violations and the conditions, which the domestic carrier, Azman Air must meet before it would be allowed to resume flight operations.

The flight resumption, it was learnt, would be after the regulatory authority has undertaken comprehensive audit of the operations of the airline and identified technical limitations and safety breaches in Azman Air’s aircraft management.

In the audit findings published by NCAA and signed by the Director General, Captain Nuhu Musa on April 2, 2021, the agency listed many violations of the airline and said Azman Air does not have the right personnel required for Commercial Air Transport Operations.

The airline was also found not to be in compliance with the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 9.2.2.2 (a) and (e) (2) with regards to provision of resources and discharge of the duties of the Accountable Manager.

The audit revealed that there was complete non-staffing of the Safety Management Department, while the Quality Management Department was staffed with only one officer, thereby making it impossible to effectively implement Safety and Quality Management Systems functions as required by Nig.CARs 9.2.2.3 and 9.2.2.10, respectively.

The report also stated that Azman Air was found to be in violation of Nig.CARs 18.10.3 regarding the submission of monthly financial health reports to the NCAA.

“This is evidenced in Azman Air’s failure to meet up with the monthly obligation in submitting the required financial health report for months despite several reminders. Last submission was in July, 2020. During this audit, Azman submitted reports for December, 2020 and January 2021,” the report said.

Azman Air was also found to be in violation of Section 12 (1) of Civil Aviation Act, 2006 as regards to non-remittance of five per cent Ticket Sales Charge.

“This is evidenced by the airline being indebted to the authority to the tune of One billion Five Hundred and Forty Five million, Two hundred and Sixty Two thousand One hundred and Twenty naira, Thirty One kobo (N1,545,262,120.31) as at December, 2020. The airline was found to be in violation of Nig.CARs 18.12.6 as regards to signing an agreement with the authority for direct debit. This is evidenced by delay in signing of the Direct Debit Tripartite Agreement with NCAA,” NCAA said.

NCAA further said the airline’s Accountable Manager exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals, which indicated lack of evidence of the Accountable Manager’s involvement in Management Reviews of Quality Audit Findings.

According to the report, Azman was found also not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 9.2.2.2 (e) (2) with regards to discharge of the duties of the Director of Flight Operations (DFO) thereby unable to maintain safe commercial flight operations.

“This is evidenced by the fact that FDR analysis on the B737 5N-SYS revealed a number of issues and the DFO could not show any evidence of actions taken to check the trend.

“This is further evidenced by lack of demonstration of knowledge of the Nig. CARs related to Flight Data Analysis and Flight Operations Management in general. Thirdly, this is evidenced by lack of safety officer(s) in the flight operations department to support the Flight Data Analysis Programme (Nig.CARs 9.2.2.11).

“Also, the DFO exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals. Fourthly, there is evidence of poor safety culture promoted by absence of evidence of concrete action on clear safety violations by flight crew, eg, failure to make required entries in the technical log,” the report also disclosed.

Azman was also found not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 9.2.2.2 (e) (2) and (3)(i) with regards to discharge of the duties of the Chief Pilot, thereby unable to maintain safe commercial flight operations:

“This is evidenced by the fact that the Chief Pilot did not know that some of his pilots were overdue for SMS, CRM training and were not making technical log entries and signing voyage reports as required by Nig.CARs 8.5.1.19. The Chief Pilot exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals,” the report stated.

The airline was found not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 9.2.2.2 (e) (2) with regards to discharge of the duties of the Director of Maintenance (DOM) to maintain safe commercial flight operations: evidenced by the fact that the DOM, who was granted a temporary acceptance by the Authority to act in this capacity for six months, expiring on March 22,2021, demonstrated complete lack of knowledge of Nig.CARs and approved Maintenance Control Manual procedures and therefore Azman Air ceased to have a DOM after 22nd March,2021.

The DOM also failed to ensure that approved Maintenance Control Manual Procedures are effectively implemented which led to numerous safety critical non-conformities including lack of access to maintenance data by the engineers in Abuja; lack of effective tool control (eg use of bogus pressure gauge with incorrect calibration certificate in Abuja).

Also ineffective monitoring of tyre wear; overdue engineers training in human factors; outdated B737 Approved Maintenance Programme; duty time limitation exceedance; ineffective monitoring of maintenance by the DOM as he is located in Kano instead of the approved maintenance base in Lagos

In addition to others, the airline was also found not to be in compliance with the Nig.CARs 9.3.1.2, with respect to provision of current Operations Manual to officers involved in operational control. This is evidenced by Azman’s inability to provide a current copy of the Company’s Emergency Response Plan as required by Nig.CAR 9.3.1.2(g)(7).

NCAA in a letter to the airline with Reference: NCAA/dg/air/11/16/304, dated April 2, 2021 and signed by the Director General, directed, “Your organisation is therefore required to determine the root causes of these findings and develop appropriate and effective corrective action plans (CAPs) acceptable to the authority to address them.

“Please note that the evidence of implementation of the CAPs, specifically for level one findings must be satisfactory by the authority prior to considering the restoration of the privileges of the Operations Specifications Parts A3 and A4 to resume the operations of the aircraft type.”

On March 16, the NCAA 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 and immediately commenced an audit which covered flight operations, management, maintenance and economic using criteria from Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 9, NCARS Part 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 20 and Nigeria Civil Aviation Act 2006 NCARS, Part 18