Azman Air is attempting to get some traction amid the travel downturn after its flights were suspended in March due to a safety audit from regulators. At the time, it was unclear what sparked the grounding. But by May, the picture was clearer. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) suspended Azman Air in mid-March after three incidents involving the undercarriage on Azman’s Boeing 737s. The NCAA said Azman was experiencing a significant number of undercarriage incidents. Some slack maintenance and reporting exacerbated this.

“On Monday 15th March 2021, Azman Air flight AZM 2318, operated with a Boeing 737-500 aircraft with registration 5N-YMS, departed Kaduna for Lagos,” an NCAA media statement reads in relation to one incident.

“The Captain reported a loud bang after retracting the landing gear during take-off but decided to proceed to Lagos as all parameters were normal.

“The aircraft landed Lagos and taxied to its parking stand when ATC informed the Captain of the burst tyres as reported by the Airport Fire Service.”

But by early May, the NCAA had lifted the flight ban and Azman Air was back in business. The grounding didn’t help Amzan’s plans with its A340. The airline’s social media postings indicate it was a long road to A340 certification.

The Team @AzmanAir arrived safely at the Lynden Pindling International Airport Nassau Bahamas early hours of today on Airbus A340-600 after a 13hr Non Stop Demonstration Flight from #Kano.

Azman Air flies multiple A340 demonstration flights.

For much of June, planning was underway for a marathon demonstration flight. On June 14 the first A340 demonstration flights departed Azman Air’s Kano (KAN) base for Dakar (DKR) via Nairobi (NBO). The 12 hour flight was a success. A few days later, the A340-600 flew back to Kano on a second demonstration flight.  

But the African flights were only a warm-up for the long-haul demonstration flights between Kano and Nassau (NAS) on June 23. The 13-hour non-stop flight went off without a hitch. After a three day layover in Nassau, 5N-AAM headed back to Kano on June 26. It was enough to convince the NCAA Azman Air’s A340 had the capabilities to safely fly international long-haul.

Azman Air’s A340-600 is good to go. But 2021 is a lousy year for long-haul flying. Where, and when, Azman Air decides to send its big Airbus is worth keeping an eye on.

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