Nippon Cargo Airlines resumes trans-Pacific route

NCA 747-8FNippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), which grounded all eleven units in its 747F fleet back in June, will resume trans-Pacific service this week with a route between Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) via Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC).

NCA was forced to ground its fleet when inspectors from Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) discovered inconsistencies in the company’s maintenance records. During JCAB’s investigation, the bureau discovered NCA had failed to record and report multiple incidents involving its aircraft, and subsequently launched an audit of the airline. Since then, the airline has resumed routes between NRT and Shanghai (PVG), and between NRT and Hong Kong (HKG). The trans-Pacific route will resume on 28 September.

According to the airline, the rest of its operations will resume as soon as it can confirm aircraft safety and prepare the remaining freighters for flight. Currently, NCA has three 747-400Fs and eight 747-8Fs in its own-operated fleet, but under an improvement plan submitted in August to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism, the carrier said its fleet and maintenance operations will be consolidated. NCA will subsequently move its freighter operations to a single platform based on the 747-8F.

According to NCA, which conducted its own investigation into the maintenance reporting inconsistencies, the improper record-keeping resulted from an understaffed maintenance department that failed to add sufficient resources from 2012. At that time, the airline began adding 747-8Fs to its fleet, and since then, while the carrier’s fleet has grown significantly, maintenance resources have been added only incrementally.

Learn more about trends in widebody freighter operations 10-12 October at Cargo Facts Symposium, where a roundtable panel discussion will be dedicated to the topic. For more information, or to register, visit www.cargofactssymposium.com.

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