The management of Dana Air has said that it has been vindicated by the report of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), which cleared its pilot in the ill-fated incident at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) of any wrong doing.
Dana Air also said that it was ready to work with the Federal Government on the yesterday’s probe order of its operations by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
This is as our correspondent gathered that the ill-fated aircraft can’t return to service again due to the impact of the severe damage.
The airline said that excerpts of the reports showed that Air Traffic Control (ATC), which is a department of the Nigerian Air Space Management Agency (NAMA), actually cleared the pilot in command to land despite the wet runway.
The airline in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Kingsley Ezenwa said that it was pertinent to note that the pilot of that flight is a happily married man and a proud father of three children with over 30 years’ experience in the aviation industry.
The airline insisted that the pilot is one of the very best in his profession, meticulous in his duties, and headhunted from another domestic airline where he also served as the head of safety and quality standards for the airline and would not willfully land the aircraft when he was not instructed to do so.
The airline added: “Considering the safety measures that we have put in place and our huge investment in training and retraining of our crew and pilots, we decided not to join issues, but to rather wait on the report of the AIB, the authentic body responsible for such investigations.
“In 2013, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and its foreign partners, the Flight Safety Group, carried out an audit on our operations and in 2016, as a result of our commitment to global safety standards, we applied to become a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), went through their audit and subsequently became a member in 2016.
“We therefore welcome the recent audit ordered by the Federal Government and we are willing to work with the team and the FG to demonstrate our commitment not just to flying but to flying safe. Our route and fleet expansion programme is still very much on course and we remain dedicated to our recent interline and aircraft partnership with Asky airline, another formidable airline in Africa.”
The airline further commended the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, whom he said had proven himself as a technocrat since his appointment over two years ago.
However, our correspondent gathered that the crashed aircraft, 5N-SRI cannot return to service again because of the impact of the crash.
A source close to the airline confided in our correspondent today that the aircraft is now permanently parked at the graveyard side of Port Harcourt airport where the incident occurred on February 23.
It would be recalled that SaharaReporters investigation had revealed the age of the aircraft in one of its report on the incident.
Investigations revealed that the aircraft as at the time of the incident was 27 years and 3 months.
The aircraft, an MD83 with the registration number 5N-SRI was manufactured in November 1990 and was among the oldest aircraft in the fleet of the airline.
The investigation indicated that the aircraft was previously used by Alaska Airlines in the United States under the registration number N947AS and was delivered to the airline on December 7, 1990.
However, the investigation further revealed that after 18 years of usage of the aircraft by Alaska Airlines, Dana Air acquired the aircraft from the American carrier on a permanent basis on August 4, 2008, when it commenced flight operations as an airline operator in Nigeria.
The aircraft would have clocked 10 years with Dana Air on August 4, 2008, if it had not crash-landed on Tuesday.