The Aviation Administration of Kazakhstan (AAK) has extended until further notice, the suspension of Bek Air's Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) after a post-crash audit revealed multiple problems with the airline's safety and maintenance procedures.

According to an AAK statement, the audit revealed that Bek Air did not keep proper maintenance logbooks and often transferred parts between aircraft without properly recording the changes. The practice, which made it virtually impossible to track each part's hours and cycles, implied the airline either lacked the financial means to procure new parts or was unable to find the requisite parts for its ageing Fokker Aircraft fleet.

The AAK also established that the carrier had removed serial numbers from its Rolls-Royce RB183-650-15 Tay engines which again hindered the accurate tracking of hours and cycles. In a statement to the Kazakh authority, Rolls-Royce said that no situation could justify the removal of serial numbers from engines. It also testified that it had never been contacted by Bek Air regarding the overhaul of engines either.

AAK auditors also identified other safety-related problems, including the lack of life vests on board Bek Air's aircraft and the lack of fire protection of cargo compartments.

It also identified multiple shortcomings in the airline's training procedures, in particular regarding operations during the winter season and in icy conditions. Given Kazakhstan's harsh winters, this represented a serious safety shortcoming, it said.

While the auditors were not concerned with identifying the causes of the December 27, 2019, crash that killed 12 people and led to the suspension of Bek Air's AOC, they did establish that the pilots did not perform the required pre-take-off wing inspection to check for icing.

"At the moment, the audit at Bek Air is still ongoing. After its completion, Bek Air will have to submit to the AAK a corrective action plan to eliminate all violations within 10 days. If the violations are not resolved within 6 months, the operator’s certificate and certificates of airworthiness will be revoked. Until these actions are completed, its certificate is suspended indefinitely," AAK said.

Bek Air, which now owns nine Fokker 100s, previously said that if it is not allowed to continue operations in Kazakhstan, it will consider relocating to one of the other Central Asian republics.

On January 16, the privately-owned carrier issued a lengthy statement in which it decried the AAK's actions deeming them unlawful. In particular, the carrier asserted that the authorities had no grounds to suspend the AOC immediately after the crash and before its causes were established.