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NCAA suspends Azman Air over safety concerns

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FAAN closes E-finger session of Lagos airport
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, partially suspended the operations of Azman Air over safety concerns.

The apex regulatory body said the suspension order applied to all the Boeing 737 aircraft in Azmans’ operation following “series of incidents” lately recorded by the aircraft type.

Apparently in line with the suspension, the local airline had earlier, yesterday, announced to customers that “due to our strong stance on safety, Azman Air will be undergoing an audit of its safety processes as supervised by the regulators.

“In this regards, all our operations are hereby suspended. We are on our toes to restore operations within a short period. Kindly accept our apologies.”

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The Guardian learnt that there had been some serious incidents concerning the airline. Recently, one of its B737 aircraft had a tyre burst at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, causing the runway to shut down and international flights diverted.

NCAA, in a statement signed by its Director General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, stated that the suspension, which took immediate effect, was pursuant to Section 35 (2) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 1.3.3.3 (A) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.

He stated: “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 safety of air transport and protect the public interest, cannot be compromised.

“The NCAA will continue to ensure compliance with its regulations in the interest of safety and will view any violation(s) seriously.”

Spokesperson of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, told The Guardian that the suspension order was precautionary to avoid serious incidents from happening.

According to him, the decision was only taken following a particular trend of occurrences among aircraft in Azman fleet. He added that NCAA’s audit would involve a closer look at the airline’s books, maintenance records, maintenance facilities, crew and staffers among others, after which NCAA would take further decisions.

In a related development, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has temporarily diverted all human and cargo movement to the D-Finger screening section of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, to allow for maintenance and upgrade programme at the E-Finger departure screening point.

General Manager, Corporate Affairs, at FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said the maintenance was routine to optimise the efficiency of the equipment.

“Consequently, all human and cargo movement have been temporarily diverted to the D-Finger screening area until the maintenance and upgrade is completed.”

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