• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Minister’s order for Dana’s suspension, an interference on safety process – Experts 

Dana Air concludes NCAA re-certification, assures of additional flights, to acquire more aircraft in 2019
Experts and stakeholders in the aviation sector have described the order by Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, on the suspension of Dana Air as unprofessional and an interference on safety processes and procedures.
In a letter by Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, the ministry of aviation and aerospace development to the NCAA, he noted that as the supervisor overseeing the nation’s aviation safety and regulatory compliance, it has come to the minister’s attention that recent incidents involving Dana Airlines have raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations.
The letter reads that in light of these incidents and with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travellers, the Minister has directed that the NCAA immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted.
The minister went on to state in the latter that the audit should encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations.
However, expert in the aviation have condemned the move, saying it is unprofessional and in interference on safety as NCAA is supposed to be autonomous.
By virtue of Section 8 (3) of Civil Aviation Act 2022, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is the sole civil aviation regulatory body in Nigeria.
It became autonomous with the passing into law of the Civil Aviation Act 2022 by the National Assembly and its assent by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act not only empowers the Authority to regulate Aviation Safety without political interference but to also carry out oversight functions of Airports, Airspace, Meteorological Services, etc as well as economic regulations of the industry.
John Ojikutu, industry expert and the CEO of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, said NCAA has autonomy on safety regulations oversight and enforcement and also has responsibility to ensure the implementation of the NISB Safety Recommendations.
“None of these belong to the Minister and his ministry except there are Safety Recommendations standing unimplemented by any the Operators. Somebody should tell the minister that when it comes to the statutory responsibilities of the NCAA and the NISB, in the present case on the Dana veering off the runway, he has no job there,” Ojikutu said.
Olamide Ohunayo, aviation analyst told BusinessDay that he finds the action of the minister to be a “gross interference in safety processes and procedures.”
Ohunayo said the ministry has no business with the airlines or ordering the director general of NCAA who is supposed to be the most powerful person in the industry and one who leads the industry.
“This is a very wrong move and wrong decision. If Dana Air has safety related issues, the NCAA should tell us. The NCAA is the one that certified these airlines. They should go and examine their books before coming up with the decision on whether to ground it or not. You can’t ground an airline based on the minister’s directive. This is very wrong.
“Ground the airline if there is a safety reason for that and not because of an airline skidded off the runway. Other airlines have skidded off the runway last year. Were they grounded? Why are you going for Dana? Why do you want to start with Dana? Why are you not looking at your runway which doesn’t have proper drainage? Why are you not looking at the difficulty in removing aircraft from the runway?
“That runway was closed for the whole day. The equipment for evaluating aircraft from the runway has been taken away from the Lagos runway and taken to Kano.  Lagos that has more aircraft do not have that equipment at the moment. This is the issue the ministry should address urgently and not interfering with NCAA’s duty,” he said.