The Federal Government on Friday admitted that the suspension of the Operating Licence of Dana Airlines following the crash of one of its aircraft on June 3 was against global aviation practices.
Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, made this known on a Channels TV breakfast programme last Friday. She was reacting to the strong condemnations from the family members of the victims of the crash, after FG restored the airline’s operating licence on Wednesday.
The FG lifted the suspension, saying it was satisfied with the air-worthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit.
Stella explained that it was against best practices to ground an airline because of a crash. She stressed that what was allowed in the aviation sector was to segregate an aircraft and conduct an audit.
She said the decision to restore Dana’s licence was taken with a sense of responsibility. "Dana is not a perfect company by any means just like any other firm...Dana’s manuals, log book and administrative policies are all in compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,NCAA rules and regulations. We’re satisfied that thorough investigation was carried out and that was why we said they can go back to work.”
She, however, added that the lifting of the suspension did not translate to the fact that the airline would return to the air immediately.
The FG had suspended Dana’s licence on June 5, 2012, two days after its Abuja-Lagos flight 0992 crashed into residential and commercial buildings in Iju-Ishaga, on the outskirts of Lagos, killing 153 passengers and crew on board.
The decision, however, attracted criticisms from those affected. The victims of the crash, claim that their agony has been worsened by the fact that the government restored the licence even when investigations into the crash are yet to be completed and the remains of some of the deceased are yet to be buried.
Onyinye Okocha a widow of Dana Air-crash Victim
“It is one thing for their licence to be restored, it is another thing for you to keep them in business. If our government cannot do what is proper, we can...I call on well meaning Nigerians who love and respect human life to boycott Dana Air.
“The crash may not have affected you like it did me. You may not be a widow like me at the age of 26, left alone to raise a baby that was just 15 months".