On July 20, Nippon Cargo Airlines received a mandate from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, (MLIT) for a Business Improvement Order after their entire fleet was grounded when an investigation by Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) discovered multiple errors and omitted incidents. NCA blamed the discrepancies on an understaffed maintenance department and has engaged a rebuilding effort to resume flights by revising the scale of their fleet to match the resources available; offloading their 747-400Fs to focus solely on the 747-8F aircraft and leaning on their partner All Nippon Airways (ANA) to utilize their staff to bolster support for aircraft maintenance.
We’ve been paying close attention to the situation at NCA since the news broke in June that their fleet would need to be grounded. While the spokesperson at NCA promised the fleet would only be grounded for a week or two, only two aircraft have been brought back into service as of today. Even their re-launch was hindered by a growing pile of issues discovered during the audit.
Between outsourcing structural repairs and relying on help to improve their records systems, NCA has shown a desire to start from scratch, also bringing in five maintenance experts from ANA and hiring three more personnel to drive their new commitments. The brunt of the responsibility has landed on the senior executives of the airline and two unnamed senior executives will receive pay cuts while a third, Kiyohji Matsuda, SVP, engineering & maintenance, will be retired in August.
The trans-Pacific trade lanes are of vital importance to maintaining a global presence for every cargo airline, freight forwarder and shipper working in a worldwide market and we at Nelson are working diligently to ensure we’re providing the best information to our readers who have cargo moving across these trade lanes. If you have any questions about how this issue can impact your cargo, we encourage you to call your Nelson Int’l representative and discuss alternatives and ideas.