Nigeria suspends Dana Air’s operational licence

The Federal Government has grounded Dana Air’s fleet. The measure was taken for the safety of the public as long as the investigation into Sunday’s crash is ongoing.

Today’s rescue work was hampered by the rainy weather, but the FRSC reported that 153 bodies have now been recovered. Families have been trying to identify the bodies of the dead, which are being kept in a morgue in a Lagos hospital.

The Senate also called for the suspension of the DG of the NCAA, Harold Demuren, until the end of the ongoing investigation. According to an article published two months ago:

Dr. Demuren has proved that with CAA autonomy comes improved safety. The zero-accident record sustained for scheduled commercial passenger aircraft in Nigeria since 2006 is the most remarkable outcome of Dr. Demuren’s stewardship in the industry which is the key measuring tool for public assessment of the state of health of the air transport industry. Public confidence shot up as the international aviation community restated high esteem for the Nigerian aviation industry and its regulators. ICAO and IATA particularly testified to the “tremendous improvement” in the safety standard in Nigeria’s aviation industry.

Dana Air released a new press release including more information on the aircraft involved:

Dana Air Flight 9J 992, flying from Abuja to Lagos, on Sunday had a fatal accident. The Boeing MD83 aircraft, with Registration Number 5N-RAM, had 146 passengers onboard: 109 men, 26 women, 5 children and 6 infants. A Dana Air Flight Engineer, 2 Pilots and 4 Cabin Crew were also aboard the flight. The flight captain had a record of 18,500 flight hours and had already flown 7,100 hours on Boeing MD83 aircrafts. The First Officer had flown 1,100 flight hours, 800 of which on the MD83 aircraft. Both pilots’ licenses are current and are verifiable with the NCAA. The aircraft had totalled over 60,000 flight hours and, with total cycles of over 35,000. Its last 400-hourly check (A-Check) was on May 30, 2012 while the statutory annual maintenance (C-Check) is not until September 2012. The Certificate of Airworthiness issued by the NCCA after the last C-Check was still very valid as at the time of the incident. Dana Air began scheduled flights on November 10, 2008 and has operated over 18, 933 flights, carrying over 1, 600, 366 passengers in the process. The airline currently has 5 Boeing MD83 aircrafts in its fleet, all fully insured for the passengers and aircrafts by a company based in the UK, who are currently on their way to Lagos. The company is professionally managed and adheres strictly to the maintenance schedule for all its aircrafts as prescribed by the manufacturers, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. More detailed and scheduled checks are, however, carried out at MRO maintenance facilities abroad.


  • The search for victims ended on Wednesday. Emergency workers have recovered 153 complete corpses as well as fragmented remains. It’s still not clear how many residents lost their life in the accident.
  • The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) will send investigators to the United States with the recovered Flight Data Recorder for analysis.
  • Dana Air’s CFO, Oscar Wason, said on television that a bird strike may have caused the crash of the aircraft. The aircraft left Abuja at 14:54 p.m., about 40 minutes later than scheduled. The pilot reported an engine failure at 15:42, but it’s not certain that it was a dual engine failure.
  • Dana Air publishes press statements with updates on its website.
  • The Federal Government has ordered a technical and financial audit of all airlines operating in Nigeria.


13 responses to “Nigeria suspends Dana Air’s operational licence”

  1. Greg says :

    Suspending Demuren won’t solve anything. And it probably is a reflection of the lack of direction in this country that the best regulator of public industry in living memory is being humiliated this way. It also shows how ill-advised: read, incompetent, our senate is. And at any rate, who do they imagine can do abetter job than Demuren? Let them be informed that crashes may happen with the best guys on the seat. Crashes don’t necessarily mean the regulators don’t know their jobs. At least, not one major crash after six years

  2. Alaba Bham says :

    Why suspend Dana Air unless they have evidence of safety violations? If so, make the violations public. if not, what’s happened to innocent until proven guilty? Knee jerk reaction.

  3. aviationspot says :

    It hasen’t come to that, suspending Demuren cannot stop airplanes from crashing. As long as airlines keep cutting corners more airplanes will keep falling from the sky. It is the airlines the senate should disturb not Demuren

  4. Aviation in Nigeria says :

    It’s a standard procedure to suspend the licence according to the NCAA. Of course all kind of people try to score cheap points in such situation. The government wants to ensure the public that it’s on top of the matter for instance. The NCAA says it will carry out a total system check of Dana Air, aircraft, maintenance procedures, personnel and books. They should have done this before a crash happened you might argue. The lawmakers want to conduct their own probe and asked Demuren to step aside as he is responsible for the oversight of air carriers in Nigeria.
    It might just be an accident in the end. All airlines send their aircraft abroad regularly for maintance (Air Nigeria to Cairo/Cologne, Arik to Cologne/Norwich/Southend, Aero to Norwich/Maastricht and Dana Air to Malta/Madrid), and the general assumption was that maintenance and oversight improved in the last years.

    • tope says :

      all this is not the solution the nigerian govt has lots to do why do they allow a 30year old plane to be brought to nigeria and in abroad where the planes were constructed they dont used them up to that years before they pull them back to factory so our govt needs to work on that too for proper investigation

  5. Anonymous says :

    This day and age with all media available, what’s the general perspective of aircraft mechanics and engineers on the state of MX?
    With a good number of videos of customer experience material filmed by passengers online, a lot still needs to be done by the NCAA on passenger rights and service delivery improvements. That looks like where the most work is needed beside pure operational safety. Schedule integrity and more.

    • Anonymous says :

      Not to put aviation on some exclusive pedestal but a major culture change characterized by a continuously improving standards is what is needed across the transport and every sector for that matter.

  6. Alaba Bham says :

    Amen to that, Anonymous. Over a thousand people die on Nigerian roads and through lack of basic healthcare daily but without this level of publicity. Its the elitist nature of aviation that propels our reactions.

  7. Alaba Bham says :

    The NMA wants to limit the age of planes! The Association of Automobile Mechanics should cry foul and state that it wants to review the qualifications of medical doctors and allied health professionals. Let’s get a grip folks.

  8. Aviation in Nigeria says :

    A good question is why the flight safety laboratory of the AIB is not yet functional. The acquisition was announced with much fanfare last year:

  9. Greg says :

    “…why AIB’s laboratory is not working”, @ Avtn in Nig.
    Let’s be honest here. Going by track record alone, could anyone say Demuren would set up a lab at huge cost and fail to use it? On the contrary, Demuren initiated our return to the US’s Cat 1 status all by himself; just one of many achievements for the fatherland. And some come along and suggest blah blah about him?
    The connection between AIB’s lab and my opinion about Demuren is that this country is full of Regular Joes, and you can see some in people who establish a safety lab and fail to use it.
    Which is why I appeal, whenever God blesses us with conscientious sons like Demuren, let’s appreciate and hold on to them.

    • Anonymous says :

      All by himself? I thought the sizeable Nigerian community in the USA had input, not to mention the work done at higher diplomatic levels. So no teamwork involved. Don’t know.

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