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Nippon Cargo disciplined for maintenance irregularities
22 July 2018

Nippon Cargo disciplined for maintenance irregularities

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism faulted Nippon Cargo Airlines for inadequate aircraft maintenance, according to a statement made by the ministry.

The Japan News reports that disciplinary action was taken against Nippon Cargo Airlines for its inadequate aircraft maintenance and failure to report accidents, as well as the manipulation of maintenance records. The airline is said to have tried to cover up the violations.

Eight maintenance staff members are said to have been involved in three cases of data falsification. In one of them, a maintenance manager and a mechanic manipulated an airplane’s lubricating oil level to avoid a mandatory checkup at Narita International Airport in April 2018. Between August 2013 and May 2018, there also were inadequate maintenance cases including the testing of aircraft control functions by an unqualified worker.

As a result, the ministry stripped the company of its exemption from annual safety inspections.

Industry warning for Super Absorbant Polymers (SAP) jet fuel contamination after Boeing 777 incident

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued a safety information bulletin, warning for Super Absorbant Polymers (SAP) contamination of jet fuel, following a recent Bangladesh Boeing 777 engine failure incident.

In June 2016, a Bangladesh Biman Boeing 777-300ER suffered an engine failure when Low Pressure Turbine vanes broke following a small combustion during takeoff from Dhaka Airport, Banglades.  The takeoff was aborted.

An investigation revealed that fuel nozzles were contaminated by SAPs. These apparently entered the fuel tank during refueling.

EASA recommends aircraft operators to be aware that SAP in jet fuel can cause engine in-flight shutdowns or operational problems and are advised to report events of SAP contamination to the engine and aircraft type certificate holders, to the fueling service provider and to the national aviation authorities. Competent authorities are advised to take this issue into account during their oversight activities.

EASA updated and extended Conflict Zone Information Bulletins for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) updated and extended the validity of its Conflict Zone Information Bulletins for Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to 9 January 2019.

CZIB-2018-01R1: Airspace of Saudi Arabia – Jeddah Flight Information Region
CZIB-2018-02R1: Airspace of Pakistan – Karachi and Lahore Flight Information Region


FAA proposes $1.4 million civil penalty against Virgin Islands Port Authority over safety violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1,466,775 civil penalty against the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) for alleged violations of airport safety regulations at Saint Croix-Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX/TISX) and Saint Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT/TIST).

The FAA inspected both airports in late January and early February 2018 and found numerous violations at both airports. The FAA alleges that VIPA did not have qualified personnel to oversee airport operations, to conduct required daily inspections, or to conduct Airport Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) operations. The agency also alleges the airports did not maintain and make available to the FAA required records including its Airport Certification Manuals, airport emergency plans, and training records for operations supervisors and ARFF employees.

Additionally, the FAA alleges that VIPA did not meet the ARFF requirements for air carrier flights at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) after an ARFF unit could not apply a fire-extinguishing agent within the required time and was not capable of performing its required functions.

FAA inspectors also found that VIPA did not properly grade the safety area for runways at both airports to eliminate hazardous ruts, humps, depressions or other surface variations. The runways and taxiways were not properly lighted, marked, or signed and VIPA failed to issue Notices to Airman (NOTAM) informing air carriers of the runway and taxiway issues at the airports, the FAA alleges.

VIPA also failed to confirm that each fueling agent at STX had trained fueling personnel, and failed to take immediate action to alleviate wildlife hazards detected at the landfill near the airport, the FAA alleges.

VIPA has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

Audit initiated of FAA’s safety oversight of Southwest Airlines

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has initiated an audit of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of Southwest Airlines.

On March 9, 2015, FAA established requirements for all part 121 air carriers to implement a formal, top-down approach to managing safety risks, known as safety management systems. Under this approach, FAA and air carriers are to develop systems to identify hazards and implement corrective actions that mitigate risk. Specifically, air carriers must identify root causes for hazards and
proactively manage risk to prevent accidents.

However, recent events have raised concerns about FAA’s safety oversight, particularly for Southwest Airlines, one of the largest part 121 carriers in the United States. On April 17, 2018, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 suffered an engine failure and debris penetrated the aircraft cabin, resulting in the first U.S. passenger fatality in over 9 years. Preliminary reports indicate similarities with a previous engine incident that occurred on another Southwest Airlines aircraft during a 2016 flight, but it is unclear what actions the carrier took to manage the risk to prevent a future failure.
In addition, the OIG recently received a hotline complaint regarding a number of operational issues at Southwest Airlines, such as alleged pilot training deficiencies, which raise concerns about FAA’s oversight of the carrier.
Specifically, the OIG is concerned whether FAA’s oversight includes an assessment of the carrier’s ability to identify hazards and analyze and mitigate risks. Based on an analysis of the complaint, relevant documents, and FAA safety information, the OIG initiated a review of FAA’s safety oversight of Southwest Airlines and specifically its safety management system.


Audit initiated of FAA’s oversight of aircraft evacuation procedures

AA383 with evacuation slide deployed (NTSB)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has initiated an audit of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of aircraft evacuation procedures.

In October 2016, American Airlines had to evacuate an aircraft due to an engine fire. Citing this incident, and the possibility of further reductions in seat pitch and increases in numbers of seats in commercial airliners, the Ranking Member of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation have requested that the OIG examine FAA’s evacuation standards and whether passengers can safely evacuate aircraft in emergencies within the required 90 seconds given these changes in the airline industry and consumer behavior.

The current FAA’s evacuation standards have not been significantly updated since 1990.  However, significant changes in the industry and consumer behavior have occurred since 1990. For example, the number of aircraft seats and passengers have increased but seat size and distance between seats has decreased. Passengers’ reliance on carry-on luggage has also increased.

Accordingly, the OIG audit objectives will be to assess FAA’s (1) development and updating of aircraft emergency evacuation standards -including how changes in passenger behavior, passenger demographics, and seating capacity- affect the standards and (2) process for determining whether aircraft as currently configured meet evacuation standards.

EU updates blacklist, removing all airlines from Indonesia

The European Commission updated its list of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, removing all airlines certified in Indonesia are cleared from the list.

All Indonesian carriers were put on the EU Air Safety List in 2007 due to unaddressed safety concerns. Over the past years, a small number (7 in total) were removed, but the bulk of Indonesian carriers remained on the list and were therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

Following the June 14 update, all airlines certified in Indonesia are cleared from the list, following further improvements to the aviation safety situation that was ascertained in the country.

A total of 119 airlines or now are banned from EU skies:

114 airlines certified in 15 states (Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 2 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan), due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states;
Five individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

Russian authorities revoke Saratov Airlines AOC over unresolved safety issues

The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) revoked Saratov Airlines’ Air Operator Certificate (AOC) per May 31, 2018 over safety issues.

Saratov Airlines was involved in a fatal accident on February 11, 2018 when an Antonov An-148 crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow, Russia, killing all 71 on board.
Violations and inconsistencies were revealed in the airline’s activities during an audit, causing the company to be put on notice in March. Ultimately the airline was given 90 days to rectify all concerns.

A check of flight assignments, flight log books, time sheets and other documents of flight crew members for March and April 2018 conducted by the Rosaviatsiya on May 26-27, found that violations at the airline are continuing and are of a systemic nature:

  • the airline carries out crew rostering without taking into account the normalization of working hours, the time of rest of flight personnel and the control of fatigue;
  • flight crew members deliberately do not observe the duty and rest times, and there is no proper control by the airline;
  • pilots are allowed to fly without a second medical examination, etc.

These conclusions led authorities to decided to revoke the airline’s AOC as of May 31, 2018.


EASA extends security notice for flights over Egypt Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) extended a security warning for the Egypt Sinai Peninsula to 25 November 2018 due to continuing concern for flight safety.

The initial EASA bulletin for Egypt was issued on November 13, 2014 and the initial version of the current bulletin CZIB-2017-09 was issued on November 27, 2017.

In the meantime new or updated Notams have been issued by the United Kingdom, USA, Germany and Egypt.

Most governments advise operators to avoid flying below FL250 or FL260 in this area. The Egypt Notam does not contain such a warning, but does state there may be GPS jamming around Cairo International Airport. RNAV (GNSS) approaches should not be planned at Cairo Airport

More information:

Office of Inspector General to audit FAA’s maintenance oversight of American Airlines, Allegiant

The U.S. Office of Inspector General stated that it will investigate the FAA’s maintenance oversight of American Airlines and Allegiant.

In June 2017, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced a review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of air carrier maintenance.

Based on their initial audit work and additional congressional requests, it was decided to adjust the scope of this audit. OIG states that the objectives now are to assess FAA’s processes for investigating allegations of improper maintenance practices at two carriers, Allegiant Air and American Airlines. Specifically, to (1) examine FAA’s independent reviews, complaints to the FAA hotline, and other sources to see whether inspectors conducting routine surveillance of Allegiant and American Airlines found similar discrepancies and (2) determine whether FAA ensures that Allegiant and American Airlines implement effective corrective actions to address the root causes of maintenance problems.