The Federal Government has once again suspended the operating license of Dana Air pending the resolution of certain safety issues, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said.
This is coming barely three months after the airline resumed operations following a seven-month suspension after its Boeing Md-83 crashed in Lagos, killing 163 people
The Acting Director-General, NCAA, Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam, who confirmed the development in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said the suspension, which took effect on Saturday morning, would last until the safety issues were rectified by the carrier.
He said the suspension followed a directive from the Ministry of Aviation, asking the airline to stop operation until “some safety issues that cropped up over the weekend were resolved.”
The acting DG said the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, had invited officials of Dana Air to a meeting in Abuja today (Monday) over the development.
Nkemakolam said that once the safety concerns were addressed by the airline, it would be permitted to resume flight operations.
Asked whether Dana Air Operator’s Certificate had been withdrawn by the regulatory authority as reported by some sections of the media (not The PUNCH) on Sunday, Nkemakolam said, “I don’t know about revocation. Their flights were asked to be suspended until some safety concerns that cropped up over the weekend were addressed.”
Reacting to the development, Dana said the NCAA had asked it to suspend operations without giving any specific reason.
It was learnt that the safety issues happened on one of its flights in Abuja over the weekend. But unconfirmed sources said the battery of one of the airline’s plane was found to have been dead in Abuja.
A statement by the Head, Corporate Communications, Dana Air, Mr. Tony Usidamen, said, “We regret to announce the temporary suspension of our flight operations following a directive from the Ministry of Aviation through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on Saturday, March 16, 2013; no specific reason was given for the action.
“A meeting is, however, scheduled between the management of Dana Air, the Ministry of Aviation and the NCAA on Monday, March 18, and we will update you as we get more information. We thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you on board again shortly.”
The Senate Committee on Aviation had a few months ago recommended that the Federal Government should revoke the operating licence of Dana Air, saying it was not issued in line with standard safety procedures.
The committee also recommended the removal of the former DG of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren.