The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said on Monday in Abuja that it had no regrets for choosing DANA Airline as “the best domestic carrier for 2011”.
FAAN had on Friday named DANA Air as the best domestic airline in the “Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport 2011 Staff Awards”.
The award which were in different categories, also include best staff, best airline (local and international), best oil marketer, best luggage handling company and best concessionaire.
Mr Chris Bature, the Regional General Manager of FAAN, told NAN in Abuja that DANA Air deserved the award.
Mr. Bature was reacting to complaints from some quarters that the airline did not deserve the award, citing the recent crash of one of its aircraft last June.
Some Nigerians have also accused the agency of insensitivity for honouring the airline few months after more than 153 people perished on its flight.
On June 3, a DANA Air plane crashed into a residential area at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos, killing all 153 passengers and crew and 10 people on ground.
But Mr. Bature insisted he airline excelled among domestic carriers in 2011.
He said the award was determined before the plane crash, adding that FAAN could not have denied the airline the honour due to the crash.
According to him, investigation into the incident is still on-going.
“The award was for 2011, as at then, there was no mishap and it would not be right that we deny them because of the last June 3 plane crash that affected the airline.
“There were parameters we look at before giving the award, part of which is volume of passengers, payment of commercial dues as at when due, punctuality of departure and staff conduct, the airline emerged the best among the domestic airlines.
“Even if we are to judge it based on 2012, the year is not over yet afterall. Investigation is still going on as to the cause of the plane crash, it could be due to human error and we cannot blame it on the airline,’’ Bature said.
Mr. Bature told NAN that the essence of the award was to encourage the airlines and the other awardees in carrying out their duties in line with best aviation practices.
Lufthansa Airline emerged the best international carrier in the award ceremony.