Nippon Cargo Airlines responds to government maintenance warning

By Damian Brett

Freighter operator Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) was late last year given a “stern” warning from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) for improper maintenance work on an aircraft.

The warning was issued on December 23 and earlier this week the Japan-headquartered carrier submitted a corrective action plan to prevent a recurrence.

The carrier, which operates eight B747-8Fs, plans to implement improvement measures to strengthen the safety management system through heightened employee awareness of safety and compliance; reinforcing a reporting culture; and preventing serious events experienced by NCA in the past from fading away from memory.

The carrier will also put in place improvement measures for its maintenance system by reinforcing the system for initial responses; improving the management of defects, including chronic defects; and improving management for expendables and maintenance work.

“We take this stern warning very seriously, and all of our officers and employees will work together to take remedial measures to ensure that a similar situation will not occur again in the future,” the carrier said.

“We deeply apologise to our customers and all other parties concerned for any concern or inconvenience this may have caused.”

The warning came after the flight crew of an NCA B747-8F reported on September 23 that a thrust reverser lever could not be advanced to the maximum reverse power position.

A mechanic later found that an incorrect screw had been used on the cover of the thruster which obstructed the thruster.

The incident was reported to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) by NCA on September 28 and MILT issued its warning following an investigation.

The NCA investigation found that the screw used had been checked out for other maintenance work – the replacement of a screw for the nose landing gear wheel well light. The work was then improperly recorded.

It is not the first time NCA has found itself in trouble with MILT.

In 2018, the Japanese carrier received a business improvement order from MLIT following a government investigation into safety record maintenance as several incidents were incorrectly reported.

As a result, the carrier temporarily grounded its entire fleet of freighter aircraft and later offloaded its three B747-400Fs so it could focus on B747-8F aircraft.

NCA hit with business improvement order, while operations continue to restart

Nippon Cargo records Q2 loss as parent confirms plans to offload B747-400Fs

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector. After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015. Contact me on [email protected]