After the crash of Bek Air Flight on 27 December, 2019, the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan JSC (AAK) suspended the Air Operators Certificate (AOC), and the Certificates of Airworthiness Certificates (COA). This suspension was based on the assessment that Bek Air had experienced two major accidents in three years. Further, based on Bek Air’s estimated number of flying hours experienced up to this time, the incidence of major safety issues was well above the minimal Acceptable Level of safety for a public transport operator. As a result of the suspension of the certificates, a thorough review of the current certificate of the Bek Air airline was initated, which revealed a number of violations.
In particular, AAK’s inspection of Bek Air has raised two major issues regarding the the airworthiness of the airline.
Firstly, evidence was found that Bek Air failed to control the continued airworthiness by complete and proper record keeping. Technical logs are inconsistent at best with considerable indications of a process of component transfer from one aircraft to another. Bek Air’s records show that they use this process routinely with components from one aircraft being removed to be installed on another airframe. These actions raise issues about component time and logging of hours as well about the Bek Air’s ability to obtain spares due to a lack of financing, or, lack of ability to obtain spares for these old aircraft.
Coupled with this, the most serious safety finding is that Bek Air has removed component data plates. These data plates have serial numbers to help track hours and cycles. This practice means the identity of engines can no longer be verified and that hours and cycles attributed to that engine no longer provable.
Several engines with this problem have been identified, which casts doubt on all aircraft engines operated by Bek Air. In addition, Rolls Royce, the manufacturer of the Fokker-100 aircraft engines, reported that they have received no information about the overhaul of these engines since these aircraft were put into operation in Kazakhstan. Rolls Royce also further informed the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan JSC that there is no procedure which would require the removal of a data plate, nor would Rolls Royce authorize such a procedure.
In creating corrective action plan for this safety finding, Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan JSC expects Bek Air to show considerable attention that the records held on aircraft indicate all component swaps and properly identify components. Engine identities will need to be addressed to demonstrate how Bek Air confirms the engine and components and that the records relating to all serial number are correct.
The second main airworthiness issue is the considerable swapping of components from one airframe to another and the inventory control required to manage it. This process is not properly controlled. It will require further study of issues related to the maintenance and repair of airline aircraft.
There are many other level one findings such as ELT status, cargo hold fire protection deficits, life jackets, etc., which apply to all aircraft. All of these must be addressed in Bek Air’s corrective action plan.
Overall, the fleet status has been assessed as poor; this is to be expected given the age of the aircraft and what AAK has observed as Bek Air’s continuing airworthiness. This evidence along with the extensive list of findings clearly indicates that the Certificates of Airworthiness (COAs) cannot be reinstated until there is a corrective action plan in place. The sufficient elements and timeline of the corrective action plan will need to be submitted to AAK, agreed upon, and completed to assure that the airworthiness of the aircraft is at an acceptable level.
In terms of airline flight operations, the list of identified violations is also impressive. Of particular concern is that the inspection of Bek Air training records shows serious safety concerns regarding both the training and recording of training. It is evident that records are deficient in detail or contain significant anomalies to call into question their veracity. Action must be taken to improve the training, and keeping of records, to show that all crews are properly trained in the correct control of the aircraft.
During the inspection of video evidence at Almaty Airport, it was discovered that the Bek Air Crews usually do not conduct a walk-around, or a wing check as instructed and required in the Bek Air’s operations manual
In the Fokker 28-100 aircraft operations manual, it clearly states that the aircraft wing MUST be checked prior to each flight and, unusually for aircraft of this type, the manual specifies how this check must be done. This procedure was introduced as an airworthiness directive after the 1993 crash in Skopje, Macedonia. The clean wing check requires a tactile check of the wing at three points along the leading edge on the upper surface, the lower surface and the front of the wing. The manual states that if there is ice present, then the all critical surfaces must be de-iced. Reviews of video footage of preparations of Bek Air aircraft do not show that this check was ever completed.
Training records show no evidence of winter operations training being conducted. No training syllabus was produced to show that crews are trained to identify and treat ice risks for this type of aircraft. This specific lack of training is a serious safety concern given the nature of winter operations in Kazakhstan. Aligned to this concern is that Bek Air’s safety management system (SMS) should contain the risk assessments of their operation. An operational SMS is a proactive safety tool and used correctly, can enhance an airline’s operation considerably.
At the moment AAK’s inspection is still ongoing. After its completion, Bek Air air company will have 10 days to provide the Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan with their corrective actions plan. If the violations are not resolved within 6 months, the Air Operators Certificate and Certificates Of Airworthiness will be revoked.Until these actions are completed, the AOC will remain suspended.
The hotline number (hereinafter - the call center) for assisting to passengers of the "Bek Air" continues to operate in the "Aviation administration of Kazakhstan" JSC.
Call center number: + 7 776 654 12 15
Call center opening hours: from 09.00 to 18.00 (daily)