LONDON – Over the weekend, Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) announced that it would be temporarily grounding all of its planes due to an error that was uncovered in the carrier’s maintenance records.
The carrier said that an “inappropriate maintenance record” concerning the lubricating oil supply to one of their 747-8 Freighters, registered JA14KZ had been found.
NCA operates an all-Boeing 747 Freighter fleet, with eight 747-8s and three 747-400s, based at Tokyo-Narita International Airport (NRT).
Local media suggested that government inspectors had found the faulty records during an investigation that looked at the airline’s “negligent proceedings” following an incident that caused partial damage to an aircraft.
The report states that the airline’s maintenance records affirmed that a 25cm dent on one of their freighters was found on one of its planes due to a bird strike.
Even though it was reported as a “minor” repair, it should have been reported as something “major.”
Another dent was found in March and had been incorrectly dealt with, too.
“In an abundance of caution and to ensure the safety of our operation, we decided to temporarily ground all aircraft until all maintenance records have been confirmed appropriate,” said the airline in a statement.
“Details are under investigation, and we expect at least about one week to confirm the aircraft safety. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and worries we caused our customers. We will do our utmost effort to check safety for resuming operation as quickly as possible.”
Such a suspension began with flights departing from NRT on June 16.
Due to the incidents in January and March, NCA said that the official proceedings began in May, but did not announce that this was happening until local authorities did so.
On cooperation in the investigation, the carrier added that it is “fully co-operating with the investigation and remain committed to the improved implementation of safe operating procedures.”
The Effects of The Suspension
For NCA, this suspension affects all the 747s in its fleet. The carrier hauls a total of 653 flights every month on services to the US, Europe, and Asia.
Such destinations include Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anchorage, Amsterdam, Milan, Luxembourg, Frankfurt-Hahn, Osaka, Shanghai, Hong-Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, and Taipei.
The suspension will ultimately affect the local businesses in each city that use NCA as now their freight will be delayed while in transit.
It is unclear whether NCA will be handing over the freight to different operators, or whether they will keep hold of the cargo until their aircraft are back in the air.
While the expectation is around one week until they are back in the air, more evidence could be uncovered, which would delay any operational status even further.