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Azman apologises, reshuffles management over safety violations

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Embattled Azman Air has apologised for its pushback and allegations against the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following its suspension for serial safety violations.

The airline, though earlier disowned the smear campaign, said the claims had been investigated within and the culprit punished.
Similarly, the airline has reshuffled top officials in its fold as part of measures to correct gaps in the management structure.

NCAA recently grounded all Boeing 737 airplanes in the operations of Azman over alleged serial safety infractions. The airline, according to the NCAA, had three serious incidents in six weeks, a dangerous safety signal.

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A statement credited to the Chairman of the airline, Abdulmunaf Yunusa, had alleged that the grounding order was not informed by operational facts, but a personal vendetta by the NCAA Director-General, Musa Nuhu, over an advert placement that was not paid by Azman.

Preliminary report of an audit carried out by the NCAA, however, established gross violations in the operations of the airline, ranging from unpaid remittance of five per cent Ticket Sales Charge and Cargo Sales Charge (TSC/CSC) to the tune of N1.545 billion; non-compliance with the provisions of resources and discharge of the duties of the Accountable Manager of the airline; DFO exhibited a lack of understanding of his duties and responsibilities as contained in the Operations Manuals and poor safety culture promoted by absence of evidence of concrete action on clear safety violations by the flight crew, among others.

Accountable Manager of Azman Air, Muhammad Abdulmunaf, in a statement, expressed regret over the development, saying the allegations against the person of NCAA DG was not informed by the Azman chairman.

Abdulmunaf noted that the airline had earlier expressed surprise and shock at the publication in which the integrity and reputation of the Director-General came under attack as a result of the decision taken by the regulator to suspend our operations based on safety considerations.

“We denied management’s knowledge and approval for such careless and unfortunate allegations made against the person of the DG but promised to conduct internal investigations as to the source/s of the allegations.

“We have now conducted such in-house investigations, which led to accusations and counter-accusations amongst our staff as to who did it. We have established that, at least, it came from one of them, hence our disappointment with ourselves.”

Abdulmunaf explained that they were contacted, just as other airlines in the country, to advertise services in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) magazine for which payment was to be made.

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“We inadvertently failed to make this payment, which, however, had nothing to do with the personal accounts of the DG but the publishers of the magazine. At the suspension of our services by the NCAA, an overzealous staff, who erroneously thought that the suspension was dictated by our failure to pay for the advert, without the knowledge and consent of the management of Azman, authored the unfortunate allegations against the DG.

“We wish to unreservedly tender our apologies to both the person of Capt. Musa Nuhu and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. We state categorically that there wasn’t and there is still, no iota of truth in the allegations which are capable of damaging the reputations of the DG and the NCAA. We equally extend our apologies to the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, for any embarrassment our actions may have caused him and the government.

“We regret every inconvenience caused to the DG, NCAA, the Minister of Aviation and the aviation industry in Nigeria as a result of our publication of that falsehood. While we seek forgiveness for our actions, we promise to tighten our communication controls to avoid future embarrassing situations like this one caused by us.”

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