DANA Airlines is poised to resume operations across Nigeria again after the federal government lifted the suspension of its licence which was imposed in the aftermath of the June 3 crash.
Following the fatal crash during which one of Dana’s Boeing McDonnell 83 planes on an Abuja to Lagos flight crashed in the Iju area of Lagos killing 153 people on board and 10 on the ground, the government grounded all of Dana’s fleet. Now, however, aviation minister Stella Oduah, said the government is now satisfied with the airworthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit of its operations.
Ms Oduah added: “The federal government has lifted the suspension of the operating licence of Dana Airlines and with this development Dana is free to resume its normal commercial flight operations. The government will, however, continue to strengthen its oversight and regulatory functions to ensure that all airlines operating in the country, including Dana, adhere strictly to safety procedures as required by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act and all other relevant local and international regulations that ensure and promote sustainable air safety.”
Aviation stakeholders and experts had criticised the government over its decision to suspend the airline’s operations, arguing that it was wrong to stop the airline from flying since the government could not readily establish any act of negligence against it. Meanwhile, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, has revealed that Lloyds of London, which partly insured the ill-fated Dana plane, had issued cheques of $30,000 each as initial compensation to the families of 62 victims of the crash.
Dr Demuren said Dana had yet to issue the initial $30,000 cheque to the remaining 91victims of the crash because of bottlenecks in the identification of some bodies, as well as cases of multiple claims by families of some victims. He also hinted that lawyers to the families of about 20 foreigners involved in the crash could not be readily paid the $30,000 because their families had sued Dana in their respective countries.
He added that the NCAA and the Nigerian Insurance Company would continue meeting with officials of Lloyds of London, who are currently in the country, to finalise discussions on how compensation would be settled. According to Dr Demuren, the process of paying the final $70,000 compensation will commence as soon as the encumbering issues are clarified on the initial $30,000 payment.
A total of 25 foreigners from nine countries were involved in the crash, according to Dana officials. These 25 foreigners were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, China, Indonesia, India, Lebanon and Germany.