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NCAA Suspends Dana Air Operations

News » Business

IMAGE: Dana Air Plane taxing at a Nigerian airport »


• AIB probes Associated Airline plane crash
• Ondo government had rejected airline’s operations to Akure

By Chinedu Eze in Lagos and Toba Suleiman 

The Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Fola Akinkuotu, Sunday suspended the operations of Dana Air.

General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Fan Ndubuoke, who confirmed the suspension, said it was because its flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos made on air return due to technical problem.

THISDAY investigations learnt that the aircraft lost one of its engines and this was the second time in a week that such an incident would happen.

An informed source revealed that the aircraft had flown 38 miles away from Port Harcourt when one of the engines shut down, when it called the control tower.
It was gathered that by the time it was making the air return, it had flown 45 miles with one engine, in an aircraft laden with passengers.

Last year, the airline recorded a tragic air accident in Lagos that killed 153 persons on board.

This came as the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIB) announced yesterday that it had commenced investigation into the crash of Embraer 120 ER aircraft marked 5N-BJY belonging to Associated Aviation Limited, which occurred at the Joint Users Hydrants (JUHEL) installation at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos last Thursday.

THISDAY also learnt yesterday that the Ondo State Government had before the crash protested against Associated Aviation Limited flights to the state because of a previous incident which happened during one of the airline’s flights to the Akure airport as well as the precarious nature of the airplanes in its fleet.

The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, told THISDAY that the Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, after a flight in the now crashed aircraft, warned his officials to stop flying the airline’s plane, because of the decadent state of the aircraft.

It was further gathered that the governor also requested  that the airline should stop flying into the Akure airport, “fearing that it might one day cause the death of people.”

However, AIB said in a statement signed by the Bureau’s Commissioner, Muktar Usman, that the flight recorders of the ill-fated aircraft had been recovered and would be downloaded at the agency’s newly installed flight laboratory at its Abuja headquarters, adding that the readout of the recorders had commenced.

The bureau also confirmed yesterday that it had started investigation into the serious incident involving a Kabo Air B747, which occurred in Sokoto last Friday.
The aircraft carrying 512 Saudi Arabia bound pilgrims was believed to have had burst tyres on landing.

AIB investigators, it was gathered were dispatched to conduct investigation into the circumstance surrounding the incident with a view to determining the probable cause of the incident.

“AIB is charged with the responsibility to investigate aircraft accidents and serious incidents within the country and where Nigeria interest is represented.  AIB's investigation is not to apportion blame or liability but to prevent future reoccurrence of similar incident and improve air safety through safety recommendations,” the agency said.

The Associated Aviation Limited aircraft was conveying the remains of the former governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu, to his state for burial when the crash occurred. According to Feyi Agagu, who survived the accident, he nearly withdrew from boarding the flight because of the aged look of the aircraft and when he eventually boarded the aircraft he noticed a crack at the  corner of the cabin, which left him disconcerted.

Ironically, it was through that crash, which now expanded after the aircraft hit the ground that he escaped from the crashed plane which was immediately engulfed by fire.

But Akinkuotu at the weekend, confirmed that there was no clear insurance of the aircraft, although the regulatory body had document that indicated that the aircraft was insured.

The airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Taiwo Raji, said the aircraft was insured by Sema Insurance in cooperation with Nigeria Re, but said there was significant doubt that the aircraft was insured.

“I am not an expert on insurance, but we have documentations to the effect that Sema (Insurance) has provided some documentation. I believe that Sema must be a brokerage firm; a brokerage form is not the one that insures. Like I said, I am not an expert but we have some documentation in respect of insurance,” Akinkuotu said.

The crash of Associated Aviation Limited flight last Thursday is reminiscent of the Sosoliso flight 1145 crash, which occurred on December 10, 2005, killing 107 persons on board.

While on paper, the airline had full coverage of the aircraft, but investigations after the crash showed that the aircraft was not fully insured.

Perhaps it was for such deceits and gaffes, that the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called on Nigerians to intensify their prayers for the country; saying the nation was at a point where it needs “spiritual rejuvenation”.

The governor made this call in Akure, Ondo State capital yesterday when he paid condolence visits to Mimiko and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, who lost his son in last Thursday’s plane crash.  

Fayemi stated that prayers were necessary for the nation to do the “right thing” and avoid the various tragedies that have befallen the country, while also taking definite institutional measures that could help avoid some ‘avoidable” tragedies.

Fayemi, who described the incident as a “monumental tragedy of indescribable proportion” said his Ondo State counterpart had gone beyond the usual call of duty to properly manage the situation but urged well meaning members of the public to support the Governor and the people of the State with prayers for the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

Condoling with Chief Falae at his residence, Governor Fayemi described the late Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Deji Falae as a rare gem who did not just live a great life but one which was full of service to the people of Ondo State.

He added that the late Falae could have chosen not to lead the State’s delegation to give a befitting burial to the late Agagu but his passion for service  and his readiness to impact the lives of everyone around him propelled him to toe the line of duty.

Article Credit: Thisday Newspaper

Updated 6 Years ago

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