Twenty-four hours after the Federal Government lifted the suspension of the operating licence of Dana Airline, indications emerged on Thursday that the carrier was not ready to resume flight operations immediately.
The government, which lifted the suspension on Wednesday, had on June 5, 2012 barred the airline from operating its normal services two days after its Boeing McDonnell 83 plane crashed in Iju area of Lagos, killing 153 people on board and 10 on the ground.
The Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, had said in a statement on Wednesday that the decision to lift the suspension followed “government’s satisfaction with the airworthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit.”
However, impeccable industry sources, including those at Dana, told our correspondent on Thursday that the airline would not commence flight operations immediately.
According to the sources, the airline needs to put certain things in place before it can resume flight operations.
A top official of Dana said, “We cannot resume operations now. At least it will take a minimum of two weeks and maximum of one month before we can resume operations. We need to put some things in order.
“We need to conduct some training for our staff. We need to put our crew resource management in order. We need to also work on our online booking and check-in system and so on. All these will take time.”
When contacted, the spokesman for Dana, Mr. Tony Usidamen, said the airline would begin flight operations “shortly.”
He declined to give a specific timeframe within which the carrier would commence operations.
Meanwhile, Dana has thanked the Federal Government for lifting the ban on it.
A statement issued by Usidamen on behalf of the airline read, “The management and the over 558 staff of Dana Air wish to express our deepest appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria over the lifting of the suspension of the airline’s operations with effect from Wednesday, September 5, 2012, following government’s satisfaction with the airworthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit.”
“We also wish to thank all Nigerians and our esteemed guests for your prayers since the tragic accident of Sunday, June 3, 2012. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with the families that lost loved ones; we remain committed to assisting them in every way possible and also fulfilling our obligations to them fully as stipulated by law.
“The provision of safe, reliable world-class air transport services has always been our focus at Dana Air and we will continue to adhere strictly to safety procedures as required by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act and all other relevant local and international regulations, as we resume flight operations shortly.”
The Airline Operators of Nigeria, the umbrella body for domestic carriers, also commended the government for lifting the ban on Dana.
A statement by the Chairman, AON, Dr. Steve Mahonwu, stated, “The elements of change and listening ears to public opinion have come to fruition in the affairs of the nation, following the announcement of the resuscitation of Dana Air operations, which were suspended sequel to the unfortunate accident on Sunday June 3, 2012, which culminated in the loss of many lives.”
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the non-submission of letters of administration and other relevant information by relatives of victims of the Dana plane crash is delaying the payment of the initial $30,000 for each victim to about 70 of the relatives.