The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the Air Operators Certificate of Dana Air.

This came barely 24 hours after Dana Air plane coming from Abuja landed at the Lagos airport runway and veered off into a nearby field.

Dana Air plane with registration number 5N BKI, had 83 passengers onboard. However, all the passengers and crew members disembarked unhurt.

Emergency responders and regulatory agencies immediately rose to the occasion and opened an investigation to unravel the real course of the incident.

While the outcome of the investigation by the Nigerian Safety and Investigation Bureau is being awaited, NCAA said it was important to audit the operations of the carrier.

NCAA in a letter with the ref no: NCAA/DGCA/DANA/1/24/001, and signed by the Acting Director NCAA, Chris Najomo, said the AOC of the airline had been suspended.

While awaiting the investigation report from the Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau, NCAA said it had initiated an in-house compliance assessment of the occurrence taking into account Dana’s track records in related occurrences.

The NCAA letter read in part, “As a precautionary step, and in accordance with Sec 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022, the Authority has imposed a suspension on your Air Operator Certificate (AOC) with effect from 24th April, 2024 at 23:59 to allow for a thorough safety and economic audit.

“The safety audit will entail a re-inspection of your organisation, procedures, personnel and aircraft as specified by Part of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, while the economic audit will critically examine the financial health of your airline to guarantee its capability to sustain safe flight operations,” NCAA insists.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, had expressed displeasure with the incident involving a Dana aircraft.

This was contained in a letter by the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development, and addressed to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

The letter which was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, was obtained by the PUNCH on Wednesday.

In the letter to NCAA, the permanent secretary said the incident had raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of Dana operations.

He added that, “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.

“In light of these incidents and 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.

“The recent incidents have underscored the urgency of this matter, and it is imperative that swift and decisive action be taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved. 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,” Meribole stated.