Azman Airlines has failed the renewal audits of its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
With this, the regulatory agency has suspended indefinitely the operating license of the airline.
AOC is an aviation safety instrument that authorises an airline operator to carry out specified commercial air transport operations.
The document issued to Azman Air allowed it to operate as a passenger, cargo, scheduled and charter flight operator. The certificate is renewed every two years in Nigeria by the NCAA.
This development has however led to massive chaos at the nation’s airports as passengers who had hitherto booked with the airline to travel to various destinations are currently stranded.
A source close to NCAA confided in our correspondent on Thursday morning that the AOC of the airline had expired in the first quarter of this year and the regulatory agency through its inspectors had been working with the airline for the renewal process, which the airline consistently failed.
It was also gathered that before the regulatory agency suspended the operating license of the airline, the Directorate of Air Transport Regulation (DATR), a department in NCAA, had written a reminder letter to the management of the airline and issued it 30 days ultimatum to comply with the industry standards, but failed.
When our correspondent contacted the Chairman of the airline, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina for comments, he refused to answer the call and also did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
What passengers are saying
At the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos Airport, passengers of the airline were stranded as they could not fly to their destinations with the airline as planned.
Mostly affected were 6:30a.m passengers of the airline from Lagos to Abuja, while its Lagos-Kano air travellers were also caught in the web of crisis.
Some of the passengers were seen at the MMA2 making frantic efforts to purchase air tickets of another airline in order to continue with their journey as planned, while others insisted on getting a refund from the airline’s counter staff, but failed.
Apart from Lagos, it was also gathered that hundreds of passengers of the airline were stranded in Abuja, Kano and Kaduna airports.
One of the affected passengers, Mr. Idris Aliyu, lamented to our correspondent that the airline never informed them of the suspension of operations.
According to him, he had arrived at the airport at 5:20a.m for a 6:30am flight to Abuja, but was surprised when the counter staff of the airline told him and others that the flight had been cancelled without any cogent reason.
He said: “I came as early as possible to the airport to catch a flight to Abuja for an early morning meeting I have in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but I was surprised when I was told I cannot travel. There is so much chaos at this airport right now.
“No one was informed of this development by the airline. I think in a sane society, passengers would have been informed earlier so that they can make alternative arrangements, but that is not the case here.
“In fact, I wanted to buy another ticket to Abuja now so that I could catch up with my scheduled appointment, but the fare is outrageous. Some of them now sell their tickets at N100,000 and above and this is just a one-way ticket.”
What you should know
Azman Air was granted AOC in May 2014 by the NCAA following a two-year-long certification process.
The airline commenced flight services immediately with its inaugural flight to Kano from Lagos, but lost the certificate in March 2021 following its non-compliance to safety issues.
The NCAA in March 2021 suspended the operating license of the airline after a series of serious incidents within six weeks.
Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of NCAA had said then that the airline was an accident waiting to happen due to the series of serious incidents and numerous unprofessional conducts of the airline at that time.
Nuhu had said that the alarming trend of tyre failures, in combination with improper tyre maintenance procedures by the airline, were a clear and strong indication of an accident chain formation in its final stages at Azman Air.
Nuhu insisted that there was an urgent need to break the accident chain before a completely avoidable national tragedy occurred, stressing that the agency would not allow avoidable accidents to happen in the sector due to the several unprofessional conducts by the airline.
However, after compliance with the safety procedures, the NCAA in May released its license and allowed it to return to scheduled flight services.
The airline is also notorious for abandoning passengers at airports.
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