FG opens up on plans to review Dana, other airlines safety details

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The recent back-to-back air related incidents that engulfed Dana Air last two weeks, the Federal Government has said that it will beam its searchlight on Dana Air and other airlines operating in the country to ensure that Nigerians travelling by air are safe.

Whereas two weeks, one of the emergency exit door of Dana Air fall off on landing, the same airline another aircraft on the fleet of the same airline skid off the runway on landing in Port Harcourt after taken off from Abuja.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who was at the scene of the incident involving a Dana Air plane at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers State, said time has come for a review of several airlines operational safety standards in line with international best practices.

In his submission, Sirika noted that the Federal Government, had through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), up scaled oversight on all airlines, with particular attention on Dana.

According to him, “the reason for the increased attention on Dana was because the airline had been in the news for bad reasons lately”.

However, while keeping the real reason for additional attention on Dana, the minister averred that “We have increased our oversight on all the airlines in the country with particular attention to Dana Air, having been in the news for bad reasons lately. So, we are taking it seriously; and since the first incident, the NCAA has been on the matter regarding Dana and other airlines”.

Even though findings on why an emergency exit door of one of Dana aircraft is yet to be made public, Sirika assured that “Investigation had begun with a view to ascertaining the cause of Tuesday’s incident, adding that the findings would be made public in accordance with the law”.

“Nigeria had been observing global best practices in the aviation sector, and only recently, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) scored Nigeria high in safety rating.

“All the standards and the recommended practices are regulated worldwide the same way; and Nigeria recently has done very well in aviation. We scored 96.4 per cent in security when ICAO did the safety audit of the country.

“For the first two airports were certified by ICAO; the two airports are in Lagos and Abuja. We are doing everything we can to certify all airports. Nigeria scored over 67 per cent last year on safety.

“We are on our way to ensuring that everything is perfect in the aviation industry. We want to assure the general public that whatever it will cost us to maintain these high standards and improve upon them, we will do it.

However, despite recent incidents in the Nigeria’s aviation, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says safety has improved in Africa and the rest of the world in recent times. In its 2017 safety performance, which was released on Thursday, IATA said the commercial airline industry showed continued strong improvements in safety.

According to the report which did not consider developments in January and February, 2018, “The all accident rate measured in accidents per one million flights was 1.08, an improvement over the all accident rate of 1.68 in 2016 and the rate of 2.01 for the previous five-year period from 2012 to 2016,” the association noted.

“The 2017 rate for major jet accidents, measured in jet hull losses per one million flights, was 0.11, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 8.7 million flights. This was an improvement over the rate of 0.39 achieved in 2016 and also better than the five-year rate from 2012 to 2016 of 0.33,” IATA noted.

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