Plans by Azman Air to return to the skies two weeks after its flight operations were suspended by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have hit the rocks again.
This followed some “misdeeds” allegedly unearthed by the regulator in its technical and safety audit of the carrier.
Since March 15, 2021, when the NCAA suspended the airline’s operations, citing safety reasons, sources hinted that investigators from the regulatory agency have been overwhelmed with the outcome of the probe covering AZMAN Air’s Management Structure, Flight Operations, Aircraft Maintenance, Economic Audit and other areas.
It was learnt that using relevant criteria from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 9, 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 20 as well as Nigeria Civil Aviation Act 2006, Part 18, the 19-page audit findings signed by the Director General, Captain Nuhu Musa, on April 2, 2021, revealed that the carrier did not comply with requirements specified for management personnel needed for commercial air transport operations.
The airline was allegedly found not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199, relating to Safety Management System establishment.
Some of the audit findings read: “This is evidenced by the lack of a Safety Manager or Safety Officers to run the Safety Management System. Lack of this has also resulted in poor management of Flight Data Monitoring Reports for safety improvements.
“The report also stated that Azman Air Limited 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 submission was in July, 2020. During this audit, Azman submitted reports for December, 2020 and January 2021.”
Azman Air Limited was also found to have allegedly violated Section 12 (1) of Civil Aviation Act, 2006, regarding non-remittance of five per cent TSC/CSC. This is evidenced by the airline’s alleged indebtedness to the authority to the tune of N1,545,262,120.31 as at December, 2020.
“Sequel to the above, Azman Air Limited 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.”
The audit findings indicted AZMAN Air for allegedly not complying with the provisions of NCAR 188.8.131.52.with regards to provisions of resources and discharge of the duties of the Accountable Manager.
The audit report also said: “This is evidenced by complete nonstaffing of the Safety Management Department and staffing of the Quality Management Department with only one officer, thereby making it impossible to effectively implement Safety and Quality Management Systems functions as required by Nig.CARs 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11, respectively.
“The Accountable Manager exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals. This is further evidenced by lack of evidence of the Accountable Manager’s involvement in Management Reviews of Quality Audit Findings.”
“Azman was found also not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 18.104.22.168 with regards to discharge of the duties of the Director of Flight Operations, thereby unable to maintain safe commercial flight operations.
“This is evidenced by the fact that FDR analysis on the B737 (for instance, 5N-SYS) revealed a number of exceedances 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 the lack of safety officer(s) in the flight operations department to support the Flight Data Analysis Programme (Nig.CARs 22.214.171.124).”
According to the audit report, 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, for instance, failure to make required entries in the technical log.
Azman was found not to have complied with the provisions of Nig.CARs 126.96.36.199 (e) (2) and (3)(i) regarding the 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 188.8.131.52.
“The Chief Pilot exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals,” the report said.
Azman, according to the manual, was found not to be in compliance with the provisions of Nig.CARs 184.108.40.206 (e) (2) with regards to discharge of the duties of the Director of Maintenance to maintain safe commercial flight operations: evidenced by the fact that the Director of Maintenance, 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 March 22, 2021.”
The audit findings also stated: “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 (for instance, 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.
“Azman Air Limited was found not to be in compliance with the Nig.CARs 220.127.116.11, 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 (this is, a repeat finding) as required by Nig.CAR 18.104.22.168(g)(7).
“Azman was found not to be in compliance with Nig.CAR 22.214.171.124 regarding Flight Safety Programme. This is evidenced by the fact that though Azman Air has a robust flight data monitoring system arrangement with Flight Technics, which constantly furnishes Azman Air with flight data reports, these reports stop at reception with no further actions to address unsafe issues captured.
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