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Seven months after, Azman Air yet to return to service despite promises

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Seven months after the suspension of flight services, Azman Air is yet to return to operations.

The airline had in March this year, suspended operations due to lack of operating aircraft, claiming that all its four airplanes went on maintenance abroad.

By August 3, 2023, the airline placed its staff on “leave without pay.”

Though the airline had promised to return to operations “very soon,” but almost three months later, the airline is yet to return to service.

Azman Air commenced scheduled operation in 2014 with two Boeing 737 aircraft, which grew to seven at its peak, but later depleted to just four.

Our correspondent gathered that two of the airline’s aircraft were stuck in Turkey, while the other two remained grounded in Nigeria.

ThePressNG gathered that the airline had failed to access foreign exchange to carry out C-checks on the four aircraft that were earlier in the year taken out for maintenance.

At the time the aircraft was taken out for checks, a dollar was about N750, but the value of the naira has further plummeted to about N1,152 to a dollar, thereby nullifying any hope of the airline returning to service soon.

It was learnt that Alhaji Abdulmunaf Yunusa, the Chairman of Azman Air, had already informed the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of its decision to cease operations forthwith.

Our correspondent also gathered that the NCAA management in August, held a series of meetings with the management of Azman, but our correspondent was not privy to the outcome of the meetings.

It was also learnt that Azman Air’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) expired in August 2023.

The expiration of the AOC has further put paid to the possibility of the airline returning very soon.

However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) allow operators 90-day extensions to renew the certificate or permanently lose it.

The NCA also has the authority to revoke such a license. The three months would elapse in November.

But, the Spokesman of the airline, Mr. Nurudden Aliyu, said the management only suspended its operations due to its inability to return its four aircraft back to service.

Aliyu, however, in a recent interview with our correspondent, debunked the cessation claim of the airline.

But, he confirmed that the airline suspended operations a few months ago due to its failure to return its four aircraft that went on maintenance in and out of the country.

Aliyu, however, assured that the airline would return to service before the end of October, hoping that two of the airplanes in Turkey would have returned to service, while the other two would return later in the same month.

 

Apart from Azman Air, some other Nigerian airlines are facing similar challenges of paucity of funds and stranded aircraft overseas.

Just recently, Mr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace, lamented that no fewer than 15 of the aircraft in its fleet were stranded abroad, while $14 million was stranded with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Over a month ago, Onyema decried that the airline had spent N78 billion naira on the maintenance of airplanes carried out in foreign countries.

He also lamented that the airline had about $14 million stranded with the CBN and about 15 aircraft stranded abroad.

He said Nigerian airlines do not lack capacity; but a truthful government, support and ease of doing business.

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