The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday, suspended Dana Air operations indefinitely over its alleged inability to run safe operations.
The move, following an investigation by the apex regulatory body, saw to the immediate withdrawal of the airline’s Air Transport Licence (ATL) and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) indefinitely, with effect from midnight of Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
It will be recalled that the airline had an air return at Abuja Airport Tuesday afternoon, with 100 passengers disembarking safely. The Guardian learnt that the carrier has also been embroiled with in-house challenges that saw to its Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sukhjinder Paul Mann, resigned his appointment after about eight months in the saddle.
The Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu stated that the suspension was made pursuant to Section 35(2), 3(b) and (4) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and Part 188.8.131.52(a)(1) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.
The suspension order, The Guardian learnt, has since been communicated to the management of Dana Air.
Nuhu said: “The decision is the outcome of a financial and economic health audit carried out on the airline by the authority, and the findings of an investigation conducted on the airline’s flight operations recently, which revealed that Dana Air is no longer in a position to meet its financial obligations and to conduct safe flight operations.
“The NCAA acknowledges the negative effect this preemptive decision will have on the airline’s passengers and the travelling public and seeks their understanding, as the safety of flight operations takes priority over all other considerations,” Nuhu said.
The airline, in its reaction, noted that operational audits are regulatory and airlines are obligated to suspend their operations when the NCAA calls for it and “we understand the impact this suspension will have on our partners, staff, passengers and the general public but we are very confident that we would come out stronger as we have done in the past.”
Spokesperson of the airline, Kingsley Ezenwa, in a statement, assured of readiness to cooperate with NCAA in the course of this audit and to also reassure customers and partners that “we are safe, efficient and reliable”.
“The recent skyrocketing cost of Jet A1 at N830/litre, unavailability of forex, and inflation are also contributory factors to this decision regrettably.
“We crave the understanding and patience of our customers, travel and business partners and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience our short absence from the market might cause.
“Our customer service team will continue to operate 24/7 to assist affected customers with necessary information on refunds and our offices will be open to all our existing partners,” Ezenwa stated.