Dana Air reopened its Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for business Thursday after aviation authorities reinstated its operating license withdrawn in the aftermath of the June 3 crash that killed 160 people.
The airline said its workers have resumed duties nationwide after receiving directive from the head office in Lagos, but was yet to fix schedules for actual flight resumption.
The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, said the suspension was lifted because government was satisfied with the safety measures put in place by the airline in the aftermath of the accident.
“Our action is informed by our satisfaction, after carrying out a technical audit of the operator that the airline is airworthy,” the minister said in a statement that announced the lifting of the suspension.
Dana airplanes remained off the tarmacs and top officials of the airline said flight operations may not resume immediately.
The airline’s management expressed satisfaction at the federal government’s decision to restore the operating license.
Chief Executive Officer and Director of Operations, Jackie Hathiramani, said flight operations would soon resume.
Meanwhile, a retired captain in the Nigerian Air Force, John Ojikutu, hailed the development. He said that the government ought not to have suspended the airline’s operations.
“What the government should have done was to withdraw the aircraft type,” Mr. Ojikutu said.
“The relevant aviation agencies such as the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) should have been directed to carry out checks on the withdrawn aircraft to ascertain their level of airworthiness. The airline should have been allowed to continue to operate other types of aircraft on its fleet,’’ he said.
Mr. Ojikutu advised the government to make public, the findings of the AIB on the crash.
Also, Dele Ore, a retired pilot of the defunct Nigeria Airways Ltd., congratulated Nigeria and the management of Dana airline on the development.
He, however, said that the suspension of the airlines’ operations and lifting of the suspension was the duty of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“This is the international practice as NCAA would have come up with facts to justify its actions,’’ he said.
Mr. Ore, Chairman of the Aviation Round Table, a non-governmental organization, advised the airline to organize itself properly before resuming operations. He advised that the airline should organize refresher and post-accident trauma training for its pilots, engineers and other workers.
The Chairman of Airlines Operators of Nigeria, Steve Mahonwu, also commended the lifting of the suspension.
“This is a clear departure from the tradition when airlines that suffered crashes would have to be in the cooler for between 10 years and 15 years,” he said.