VENTURES AFRICA – Nigerian airline Dana Air resumes flights today, for the first time since the government banned the company’s operation following a fatal crash in June.
The airline takes off again today, launching a flight from Abuja to the country’s main business hub, Lagos; having been given the all clear pursuant to an audit of the remaining fleet, although the investigation into the crash is yet to return conclusions.
“We won’t know the cause until the investigation has been completed … a thorough audit of the airline has been done and the remaining fleet is airworthy,” said Joe Obi Aviation Ministry spokesman according to Reuters.
In June of last year, a Dana air flight arriving in Lagos flew directly into an apartment block on the outskirts of the city – killing 163 people, including everyone on board the flight and ten people on the ground.
In response, an investigation was launched to determine the cause of the crash – the pilot having reported dual engine failure shortly before the plane went down -, with the government also taking the step of banning the airline from operation until the results of the investigation were available.
However, the government went on to lift the ban in September despite the lack of a completed investigation; although the results of an audit into the remaining aircraft comprising the company’s fleet has reported that the five remaining McDonnell Douglas MD-83 craft are airworthy.
Alternative airline in the country Air Nigeria – owned by Richard Branson – was also terminated in September of this year citing “staff disloyalty and environmental challenges”, thus restricting the number of viable airlines available in Nigeria for a while.
With Nigeria being a country so expansive that air travel is a key form of transport across its territory; and as Africa’s second largest economy, requiring access to business professionals from across the continent, it is imperative that the country tackles the safety issues prevalent in its air travel sector and ensures reliable transport options.