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FG suspends Dana Air operations following an incident at Lagos airport

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Wednesday suspended the Air Operators Certificate of Dana Air, barely 24 hours after the Dana Air plane, originating from Abuja, landed on the runway of Lagos airport and diverted to a nearby field.

The Dana Air aircraft with registration number 5N BKI had 83 passengers on board. However, all passengers and crew members disembarked unharmed.

Emergency responders and regulators immediately seized the opportunity and opened an investigation to unravel the true course of the incident.

While the outcome of the investigation by the Nigerian Safety and Investigation Agency is awaited, NCAA said it was important to monitor the airline’s operations.

NCAA said in a letter with the reference number: NCAA/DGCA/DANA/1/24/001, and signed by Acting NCAA Director Chris Najomo, that the airline’s AOC had been suspended.

Pending the investigation report from the Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau, NCAA said it had initiated an internal compliance review into the incident, taking into account Dana’s track record in related incidents.

The NCAA letter read in part: “As a precautionary measure and in accordance with Sec 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022, the authority has imposed a suspension of your Air Operator Certificate (AOC) with effect from April 24, 2024. at 11:59 PM to allow for a thorough security and economic audit.

“The safety audit will entail a re-inspection of your organisation, procedures, personnel and aircraft as specified in Part 1.3.3.3 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, while the economic audit will critically examine the financial health of your airline to assess its capabilities to guarantee. to support safe flight operations,” NCAA emphasizes.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation and Space Development, Festus Keyamo, had expressed his displeasure over the Dana aircraft incident.

This was contained in a letter from the Ministry of Aviation and Space Development addressed to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

The letter, signed by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, was obtained by the PUNCH on Wednesday.

In the letter to the NCAA, the permanent secretary said the incident had raised serious concerns about both the safety and financial viability of Dana operations.

He added: “As the regulator overseeing aviation safety and regulatory compliance in our country, it has come to the attention of the Honorable Minister that there have been recent incidents involving Dana Airline.

“In light of these incidents and with the safety and well-being of our citizens and travelers as your top priority, the Honorable Minister has directed you to immediately begin suspending the Dana Airlines fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted. This audit must cover all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations.

“The recent incidents have underlined the urgency of this matter, and it is imperative that swift and decisive action is taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved. I trust your expertise and care in conducting this audit thoroughly and expeditiously. Please keep me informed of the progress and any significant findings during this process,” Meribole said.