Federal Government not ready to review Dana Air's suspension - Ministry of Aviation

Almost three months after Dana Air’s flight 0992 crashed in a suburb of Lagos killing 163 people, the workers of the airline and others have started clamouring for the restoration of its operational licence.

However, they may have to wait for a while as the Ministry of Aviation explained Sunday that the Federal Government is in not in a hurry to review the suspension of the airline’s licence.

Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Aviation, Joe Obi, said the Federal Government was yet to lift the suspension on the airline because it has to ensure that it would maintain a safe operation whenever it resumes service.

“We want to make sure that every aircraft in their fleet is air worthy. The suspension will be lifted. But I recall that when the crash happened, everybody was shouting ban them; ban them. Now people are saying lift the suspension. We want to be sure that by the time they come back, they will operate safely. We are carrying out checks and we will not be stampeded,” he added.

Obi also said those clamouring for the airline’s return should allow the professionals to do their jobs because there are other safety considerations that must come into play.

“Such safety issues must not be subsumed. We want to make sure that any aircraft in Nigeria’s airspace is safe. The most important thing is that no mishap will happen again, so we have to prevent that,” he said.

Also reacting to the clamour, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said: “The operations of Dana Airlines were suspended by the Federal Government of Nigeria following the intense emotions and sentiments that greeted the plane crash. It was the Federal Government's reaction to the anguish that pervaded the country in the aftermath of the crash.”

The agency said however it was working with the Lagos State Government to ensure that all the bodies of the victims were released to their families for burial.

“Similarly, NCAA is also working with and monitoring Dana Airlines to ensure that adequate compensation is paid to the families of the victims. The initial (payment of) $30,000 would have been completed but for sundry cases of multiple claims waiting to be resolved. In the second phase, beneficiaries will be required to present letters from the probate and the $70,000 instalment will be paid.

“Definitely, money cannot replace lives but all the necessary procedures have to be adhered to and equity upheld. However, Dana can continue to carry out maintenance of their aircraft while it is not out of place to operate outside the country until all issues surrounding the suspension of their AOL (Air Operator’s Licence) is resolved,” the NCAA said.