AON to FG: “Lift Dana Air Suspension”

Mohammed Joji

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to lift the suspension of the operating license of Dana Air, following the June 3 air crash.

A statement signed by the AON Secretary General, Capt. Mohammed Joji, explained that the continued grounding of the airline’s operation was adversely affecting its employees and the nation at large.

It would be recalled that the federal government had, on June 5, suspended the operations of DANA Air, pending the outcome of investigations into the crash of the company’s plane that killed all 153 passengers and crew on board.

“The operators of the airline also risk losing huge and significant investments in Nigeria’s fledging aviation industry,” Joji explained.

“On staff salaries alone, for it’s over 540 staff, the airline currently spends about N90 million per month. Besides, the staff salaries, there are other overheads such as the office and staff accommodation, and the increase in insurance premium.”

According to him, there is no relationship between safety and the age of an aircraft, and the decision to retire an aircraft was basically economic.

“Ageing aircraft require more frequent maintenance than new aircraft and this is undertaken outside Nigeria on annual basis in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices,” he said.

“A well-maintained old aircraft is better than a poorly-maintained new aircraft. New aircraft are often purchased to add capacity to the existing fleet and not to immediately replace existing fleet.

“Imposing a 22-year ban on aircraft is not consistent with the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.”

According to him, such a decision was a draconian policy taken without recourse to the actual industry practice.

He noted that grounding of airlines and phasing out of fleet was becoming a recurring culture in Nigeria, “contrary to the practice in most ICAO member states.”

He urged to the Federal Government to also revisit the grounding of ADC and Sossoliso airlines with a view to considering their return into the nation’s aviation market.

-Dailytimes NG