10th September, 2012
DANA Air, whose operating licence was restored last week by Nigeria’s Federal Government, has said that there was no basis to ground the airline in the first place.
The airline’s spokesperson, Mr. Tony Usidamen, on Monday, reiterated the position of the Airlines’ Operators of Nigeria, AON, that it is against all international norms to suspend the licence of an airline after a plane crash.
Usidamen, who was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily programme, argued that DANA Air was never indicted by the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, or found wanting by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and should not have had its licence suspended because of the crash.
“We are not surprised that a lot of people have voiced concerns but it’s not the international practice to ground an airline after an accident,” Usidamen said.
He said the suspension was not consistent with international and local practices as Bellview in Nigeria and Air France in France were allowed to continue flying after their planes crashed in 2005 and 2009.
He cited the preliminary report of the AIB which did not indict DANA and norms at the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, to which Nigeria is a signatory to back up his arguments.
He said the Ministry of Aviation audited their remaining aircraft and ascertained that they were air-worthy before restoring their licence.
Usidamen disclosed that DANA may start flying again in weeks even as it continues to compensate the relatives of the victims of the 3 June plane crash.
He said 62 people have been compensated so far while the process is ongoing for others, including the ground victims.
Usidamen said while no amount of money can compensate for lives lost, the airline wants to ensure that the money is given to the appropriate persons as there have been multiple claims.
He said the airline is retraining its staff and making sure that everything is in place before it resumes operations.
He promised that best international practices, including safety, will be adopted.