Azman Air Cleared To Resume Flights After 1.5 Months Grounded

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Azman Air has been cleared by the Nigerian Aviation authorities to resume flying following a six-week grounding of its aircraft. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended Azman Air in mid-March after several incidents involving the undercarriage on Azman Air Boeing 737.

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Azman Air is a Nigerian domestic airline. Photo: Sm105 via Wikimedia

On February 10, 2021, the first safety breach occurred at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja (ABV), 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. The aircraft in question was a 23.6 year old Boeing 737-500 with the registration 5N-SYS.

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A piece of the plane fell off

A day later, during takeoff, 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.

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A landing gear heat shield fell off during takeoff. Photo: Azman Air

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

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While the investigation was ongoing, on February 16, the same Boeing 737 suffered burst tires while landing at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) in Lagos. The incident caused severe damage to the aircraft’s fuselage and engine.

The NCAA grounded Azman Air 737s

On March 19, 2021, the NCAA described Azman Air as having an alarming number of tire failures combined with improper maintenance procedures. They described the situation as a “clear and strong indication of an accident chain formation in its final stages.”

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Aviation website FlightGlobal quotes the Nigerian aviation authorities as saying the following:

“No responsible civil aviation authority will fold its arms and wait for the next incident to occur, perhaps a fatal accident, before taking action.”

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

Azman then cited a communication from the aviation authority on the same day that clearly states 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.”

“We can assure the general public that it is the beginning of a new experience,” says the carrier. “We remain committed to raising the standard when it comes to the safety of the crew, equipment, and passengers.”

About Azman Air

Azman Air was founded in 2010 by Nigerian businessman billionaire Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina. The airline was established to provide domestic Nigerian flights from its main base at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (KAN).

Azman Air 737
The NCAA grounded Azman Air 737s. Photo: Hansueli Krapf via Wikimedia

Currently, according to the aviation enthusiast website Planespotters.net  Azman Air has a fleet of one Airbus A340-600, two Boeing 737-300s, and four Boeing 737-500s.

Have you ever flown on Azman Air? If so, please tell us what you think of them in the comments.

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