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Aviation Safety: Minister directs suspension of Dana Air as FAAN reopens runway at Lagos Airport

*Festus Keyamo, SAN, Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, explains the suspension of Dana Airlines pending a ‘comprehensive audit of the airline’ has become necessary in order to ensure safety and regulatory compliance in the aviation sector of the Nigerian economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following the recent incident involving a Dana Airlines’ airplane skidding off the runway at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), in Lagos, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Honourable Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development, has directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend the aviation company with immediate effect, with the directive for a comprehensive audit of the airline.

ConsumerConnect reports Keyamo, who stated this in a letter signed by Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and addressed to the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) titled, “Immediate Suspension of Dana Air Pending Safety and Financial Health Audit”, said that the decision had become necessary to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, Honourable Minister for Aviation and Aerospace Development

The incident, which involved Dana Air plane with registration number 5N-BKI, overshot the runway during its landing sequence, and that led the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to temporarily shut down runway 18L/36R at Lagos Airport for flight operations.

The Minister noted the audit would involve all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with the aviation sector’s regulations in Nigeria.

He also stated: “As the supervisor overseeing our nation’s aviation safety and regulatory compliance, it has come to the Honourable Minister’s attention that recent incidents involving Dana Airline have raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations.”

It noted: “In light of these incidents, arid with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travellers, the Honourable Minister has directed that you immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted.

“This audit should encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations.”

Keyamo as well emphasised that the recent incident underscored the urgency of the matter, and the need for swift and decisive action to be taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved.

The Minister said: “I trust in your expertise and diligence in carrying out this audit thoroughly and expeditiously. Please keep me informed of the progress and any significant findings throughout this process.”

FAAN reopens Lagos Airport runway to flight operations

In a related development, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Wednesday, April 24, said annouced the reopening of the runway 18L/36R at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, in Lagos, for flight operations.

Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at FAAN, who announced the reopening of the facility in a statement, disclosed that prompt actions were taken by FAAN’s emergency response team to evacuate and recover the aircraft from the site.

Subsequently, comprehensive clearing operations were conducted to ensure the runway was free of any Foreign Object Debris (FOD) that could impede flight safety.

The FAAN Operations Division and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) had jointly conducted a thorough inspection of the runway surface and deemed it safe for the resumption of operations.

Also, an appropriate Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued in this regard, she stated.

The statement also noted: “We acknowledge the area affected by the overshoot was significantly muddy.

“A concerted effort was made for the thorough and efficient cleaning of the area to facilitate the swift resumption of operations on Runway 18L/36R.

“FAAN wishes to express its gratitude to the travelling public, our airline partners, and all stakeholders for their patience, understanding, and cooperation during the temporary closure.”

FAAN added: “We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this incident may have caused. FAAN is committed to providing a safe, secure, and efficient air transport environment for all users of our airports.”

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