If all the conditions given by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are met, Dana Air may be certified to resume operations next week.
THISDAY learnt that the audit of the airline’s aircraft has revealed the major problem with the fleet of MD 83 planes and these issues could be rectified and Dana could resume operations as soon as it is given a go-ahead by the regulatory body.
Inside source revealed that the engineers handling the engines of the aircraft had not been handling them effectively, which explained why the engines had not been performing as efficiently as they should.
This was identified by the NCAA audit team, which recommended that the engineers who handle the engines of the airplane should be changed and the airline agreed immediately. The airline is therefore urgently working to make the changes, which when completed, will see the aircraft flying after passing airworthiness test by the regulatory authority.
One of those handling the audit told THISDAY that after the tragic crash of last year, which killed 153 passengers on board, Dana took a decision to operate more safely by returning to base any time there is an incident with its aircraft while airborne.
“But this decision, which is technically sound but which will make the airline lose money, has been misinterpreted by the media. The media usually raises the alarm whenever an airline makes such air return. The decision is to ensure that it operates safely but whenever it returns to base, it would lose fuel and since the passengers would not be taken to their destination, they would be refunded, but it will ensure that accidents do not happen.”
The source said the media frightened Nigerian passengers when they cast headlines such as: “150 Passengers Escape Death,” after a pilot had taken precautionary measures by aborting a flight.
He added that it would be tempting for a pilot to continue to fly a plane that had technical hitches because whenever he takes a sound decision, the media would blow it out of proportion.
The source, who is a senior technical official, also said IRS and Chanchangi had been stopped from operating because they had failed to meet the minimum regulatory requirement, which states that an airline should operate a minimum of two aircraft.
The audit of Nigerian airlines, which started with Dana Air is expected to examine the aircraft, maintenance culture, technical manpower and operational system of the airlines and if these areas meet the required standard the airline would be allowed to continue to operate, or would be asked to stop operation.
It was initially planned that a foreign audit team would work with NCAA but the team did not arrive early so the regulatory body had to undertake the audit with possible re-examination by the foreign audit team that may likely come from the US or Canada.