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Debate: Lifting Dana Airlines Suspension

By David Stephen.

The Federal Government has lifted its suspension on Dana Air, infamous for the crash of one of its aircrafts on June 3, 2012, killing all the passengers and crew members on board. The government suspended the carrier shortly after the crash, to punish them for whatever reason that caused the crash, to pacify the loved ones of the victims and in line with aviation reforms in the country.

The crash generated much news nationally – and globally, with the timeline of air crashes in Nigeria back to the fore. Inquiry into the crash started and the engine was largely faulted as the cause of the crash. The age of the Dana MD-83 flight was also questioned, because it was manufactured 22 years ago. The Aviation ministry, now, in lifting the ban pointed to its satisfaction of air-worthiness of the airline, after rigorous technical, operational, and financial audit.

Certain reports also present that pressure by passengers to avoid monopoly by just three currently operating airlines – Arik, Aero and IRS – made the government to do this fast. There are issues of yet-to-be concluded investigation of the crash, and payment of insurance to the families of victims. But the government explained that issues with identifying victims, multiple claims by families, documentation, and death certificates are stalling full insurance payment of $30,000 to all affected families.

Lifting the ban at this time has caused outrage about government concern, their propriety and commitment to reforms. Many argued that there should have been more time, to let the dust settle – with investigation and insurance – before announcing that they are considering to restore the operating license of Dana Air, within a period.

Government action at the time of suspending their operating license was most appropriate, and nothing but that, could have been. Restoring the license at this time however, is largely seen as ‘not appropriate’. Dana is unlikely to immediately start flying, and there will be considerable tepidity for the airline, by passengers, until 2013. Government should go more than its statement to show us of their air-worthiness, and Dana should get aggressive in campaigns, restoring confidence and apologizing for its flap. Dana may also be affectionate, resuming flights by 2013.



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