More than three months after it was grounded for technical and safety reasons, Dana Air resumed operation on Sunday, January 26, 2014.
Information available to ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that the airline which has lost over N2 billion since it was shut on Saturday, October 6, 2013, was elated when the ban was lifted and granted permission to begin flight operation.
We learnt that Dana Air fly an average of 1,000 passengers daily, with each paying about N20,000. Thus, N20 million was lost daily over a period of 100 days. Consequently, the total amount in lost revenue comes to about N2 billion.
We gathered that full operation has not really commenced except Lagos-Abuja route because the airline has not fully recovered from its loss. Prior to their suspension, they have not fully paid staffers salary and one of the conditions given to their staff was that they will be paid the full salary of the duration they stay at home while the suspension lasted. We, however, learnt that some of their workers and expatriate pilots have sought greener pasture.
A statement from the airline made available to ENCOMIUM Weekly on Sunday, January 26, 2014, stated that following the successful outcome of the operational audit of Dana Air by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the airline is set to recommence full commercial flight operations today.
“The resumption of Dana Air’s flight operations comes on the heels of the lifting of the suspension order by the regulatory agency as the airline has demonstrated satisfactory competence in operating the Boeing McDonnell Douglas (MD-83) aircraft fleet,” the statement signed by the airline’s management said.
Announcing the resumption of flight operations in Lagos, the Chief Operating Officer and Accountable Manager, Mr. Yvan Drewinsky, said the lifting of the suspension order is a testament that Dana Air adheres strictly to prescribed safety standards as dictated by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
The Dana Air COO also commended the Aviation Ministry and the NCAA for the transparent and
objective conduct of the operational audit of the airline.
“The successful outcome of Dana Air’s operational audit by the NCAA involving the Flight Safety Group in conjunction with their foreign partners underscores our commitment to safe operations in line with standard procedures. We are therefore delighted at the prospect of our imminent plans to recommence flight operations to continue to offer unparalleled quality of flight services to our guests,” said Drewinsky.
He also commended Nigerians for their show of support and understanding, especially those whose travel itineraries were disrupted during the operational audit exercise.
The airline also thanked the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, and the Director General of the NCAA,
Captain Fola Akinkuotu, for their unwavering commitment to make the skies safer. He further assured stakeholders that at resumption, Dana Air would operate flights on the Lagos Abuja Lagos route and would thereafter, progressively introduce additional routes and frequencies to cater for customers’ demands, as more aircraft joins the fleet.
The NCAA, in exercising its statutory safety oversight functions on all the operating airlines, had earlier prescribed a yearly schedule audit programme to ensure safety in the sky and to also avoid hitches in flight operations. Dana Air is the first airline to have successfully undergone the operational audit exercise.
Dana Air came into being in 2008. It has 5 airlines in its fleet. Before June 2012, Dana Air operates 6 routes which include Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Kanu, Port Harcourt and Uyo. On June 3, 2012, a McDonald’s Douglas MD-83 operating based flight 992 crashed into a two storey building at I just railway, Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos. All 153 people on board the aircraft were killed. Following the crash, all flights by Dana were halted by NCAA. The airlines license was restored in September 2012 before the inquiry into the accident was concluded. However, In Saturday, October 6, 2013, their license was once again suspended.