THE Federal Government, yesterday, gave reasons why it suspended the Dana Airlines, even as it said it would soon send the two engines of the crashed Embraer 120 aircraft belonging to Associated Airline to Brazil for comprehensive analyses.
Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah said at a briefing with State House correspondents that the suspension of the operations of Dana Airlines was due to “operational issues,” adding that it was to enable the regulatory body ensure that the airline met certain requirements in the industry.
On the recent crash of an aircraft belonging to the Associated Airlines, Oduah said though every step was being taken to avert plane crashes in the country, accidents in the aviation sector are “inevitable” since they are acts “of God.”
She said the Dana Airlines operating licence was merely suspended, and not withdrawn noting that due process was followed in taking the action.
While dismissing criticisms trailing the suspection as “bar (beer palour) comments from drunks and addicts,” Oduah said, “operational issues and the law; the policy says that the assessment, the certification is ongoing. In aviation, security and safety measures are working in progress, you don’t stop. You don’t say that I have attained this and so we stop, it never stops. You continuously or constantly assess operators to make sure they are in compliance.
“Nothing in aviation is ever done with fire brigade approach because there are processes and procedures; nothing at all. And their licences were not suspended, what was stopped is their operations and it was stopped because the law says that, if there is anything noticed not in tandem with the policy, the regulator must stop and re certify and make sure that there is compliance.”
The minister who, however, expressed sadness over the recent crash which she said happened shortly after the International Civil Aviation Organisation recently ranked the country as being above the global average, said, “ICAO says Nigeria is the 12th most safe aviation nation globally. And then when you hear bar comments from drunks and addicts… making comments that have zero bearing on reality, it is very annoying. What I will advise the public really is to recognise the fact that aviation is a very professional area. You cannot listen to bar comments because they are just unrealistic and totally untrue.
“We do not pray for accidents but it is inevitable. We do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents, but sometimes, it is an act of God! Again, we do not speculate on the cause of accidents until (investigations are carried out).
Until that happens you can not say this is the cause or that is not the cause. But what is obvious and is the truth is that, in aviation there are shared responsibilities, starting from the man that carries your luggage to the man that makes sure that your boarding pass is issued to you. And so the regulatory agency, the operators, the management, everybody has his responsibility and all must work in tandem optimally, secure and safe aviation sector. And that is what we have been working to achieve.”
The minister said the preliminary report on the crashed Associated Airlines “should be out in a couple of weeks” while the ministery awaits experts that are coming from France and the manufacturer of the aircraft to make carry out more detailed investigations. According to her, despite the recent crash, Nigeria has one of the “the safest air space. Nigerians shouldn’t be afraid to fly, Nigerian airspace is very safe.”