Aviation Minister Orders Urgent Suspension of Dana Airline Pending Audit

The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, has directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend Dana Air, a day after one of the airline’s planes skidded off the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos runway.

The minister also ordered a comprehensive audit of the airline. The audit will encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with the aviation sector’s regulations.

In a letter to the NCAA Director-General titled ‘Immediate Suspension of Dana Air Pending Safety and Financial Health Audit’, the minister said the move was necessary to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

“As the supervisor overseeing our nation’s aviation safety and regulatory compliance, it has come to the Honourable Minister’s attention that recent incidents involving Dana Airline have raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations,” read part of the letter signed by the Permanent Secretary to the Minister, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole.

“In light of these incidents, arid with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travellers, the Honourable Minister has directed that you immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted.

“This audit should encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations.”

Keyamo explained that the recent incident underscored the urgency of the matter, and the need for swift and decisive action to be taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved.

“I trust in your expertise and diligence in carrying out this audit thoroughly and expeditiously. Please keep me informed of the progress and any significant findings throughout this process,” he added.

The incident on Tuesday, had led the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to temporarily shut down runway 18L/36R at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos for flight operations.

The runway was reopened on Wednesday morning after FAAN’s emergency response team evacuated, and recovered the aircraft from the site.

FAAN’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, announced this in a statement.

She said subsequently, comprehensive clearing operations were conducted to ensure the runway was free of any Foreign Object Debris (FOD) that could impede flight safety.

She added that the FAAN Operations Division and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had jointly conducted a thorough inspection of the runway surface and deemed it safe for the resumption of operations.

She also said an appropriate Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) had been issued in this regard.

“We acknowledge that the area affected by the overshoot was significantly muddy,” she said.

“A concerted effort was made for the thorough and efficient cleaning of the area to facilitate the swift resumption of operations on Runway 18L/36R.

“FAAN wishes to express its gratitude to the travelling public, our airline partners, and all stakeholders for their patience, understanding, and cooperation during the temporary closure.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this incident may have caused.

“FAAN is committed to providing a safe, secure, and efficient air transport environment for all users of our airports,” the statement read in part.

The Dana Air aircraft, with 83 passengers and registration number 5N BKI flying from Abuja to Lagos, suffered a runway excursion at the Lagos Murtala Mohammed airport on Tuesday.

A runway excursion occurs when an aircraft veers off the runway in use during the take-off or landing run.

Dana Air said in a statement after the incident, that all the passengers were safely disembarked with no injuries.

It added that the aircraft had been grounded by the maintenance team, pending further investigation.

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