VENTURES AFRICA – The Federal Government of Nigeria yesterday suspended Dana Airlines operating licence, in the aftermath of the devastating air crash which rocked the country last Sunday.
The crash, which involved the company’s aircraft claimed about 190 people including 153 passengers, six crew members and about 37 people on the ground, has been widely criticize by analysts who unanimously fingered regulatory lapses, which were not addressed, in what they called ‘the numerous red flags’ raised on airlines and aviation sector safety standards.
Joe Obi, Special Adviser to the Aviation Minister on Media, who confirmed the airline’s suspension, said Dana Airlines’ operating license was suspended “indefinitely for safety and precautionary reasons.”
The Nigerian National Assembly also seconded the move, demanding that the NCAA suspend operations of Dana Airlines pending the conclusion of investigations into the crash. It also called on the government to immediately release the reports of previous investigations with commensurate sanctions.
The Senate, in a plenary session, observed a minute silence in honour of those who died in the crash and resolved to send condolence messages to the families of the deceased.
The legislative arm of Africa’s second largest economy also directed that the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, step down until investigations into the air crash had been completed.
The NCAA is the national body with the statutory responsibility of ensuring, regulating, monitoring and promoting the safety, security and reliability of air navigation, in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and recommended practices (SARPs).
In his contribution, the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said it was imperative for relevant authorities to pay serious attention to early warning signals – “red flags”- before they degenerate into catastrophes.
Meanwhile, AON, the London-based insurance company of Dana Airlines, is set to pay substantial premium, running into billions of Naira, to relations of the 153 persons, including the crew members that died in the crash. In accordance to international aviation laws and regulations, each passenger is entitled to $100,000,000 while the crew is entitled to $150,000,000 each.
Overall, the airline is expected to pay about N3.5 billion naira ($21.6 million) to the families of victims.
In the flight 9J-922 of June 3, the aircraft with registration number 5N-RAM, departed Abuja for Lagos with 146 passengers on board, with one Dana Air flight engineer, two pilots and four cabin crew.
According to reports, officials of AON,which controls 70 percent of the Nigerian aviation industry, have arrived the country to inspect the crash site.
As at yesterday, families of victims of the crash were being permitted to take possession of their corpses, a local newspaper reported.
The air crash has been termed the worst in the country’s aviation history.