The federal government last week ordered complete audit of Dana airline, following its recent involvement in non-fatal accidents.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, said the audit will cover the personnel and assets of the airline.
About a fortnight ago, a Dana airplane overshot the runway in Port Harcourt,skidding into the bush. The Port Harcourt incident happened days after one of the emergency doors of the airline’s aircraft that was conveying passengers to Abuja, fell off during landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Although the airline claimed that “the door could not have fallen off without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it”, seasoned pilots that commented on the incident, said that the door could open without anybody fiddling with it. One pilot blamed it on ‘component failure due to a hard landing’.
All the passengers on board had denied having tampered with the door, according to BBC News. The CNN also quoted a passenger to have said the exit door had been ‘unstable throughout the flight’ and fallen off as the plane touched down, leaving a gaping hole in the cabin.
Another person on the flight was quoted as saying that the emergency exit was not properly shut before the plane left Lagos.
But another aviation expert had stated that no passenger would ever be strong enough to physically open a plane’s emergency door in the air.
This, he explained is because the doors open inward, “so the pressure pushing on the surface from the pressurised plane cabin is far too great.”
He added: “When at cruising altitude, the pressure difference between the outside of the plane and the inside of the plane, which is pressurised, creates a situation where the door cannot open. So it is physically impossible.”
However he said if the plane’s door did somehow open mid-flight, the resulting catastrophe would involve “explosive decompression”.
The president’s media aide stated that the government of Nigeria is very much concerned about safety and the life of Nigerians, thus its decision to direct the probe.
He said: “Minor as they were because there were no fatalities, the government did feel concern and the Minister did the report to the Council on steps that were taken following the last incident in Port Harcourt, Dana aircraft overshooting the runaway. As soon as that happened, a few seconds, a rescue team was there on the ground and few moments thereafter every passenger on board was evacuated. There was no harm to persons and this is something that should be celebrated.
“Within 24 hours an official investigation had commenced because investigators arrived in Port Harcourt and began work. One week after that a preliminary report was prepared and it was about this that the Council was briefed.
“Consequently as announced by the aviation authorities, the engineer and pilot of that particular aircraft got their licences suspended and beyond that the government has ordered a complete audit of Dana airlines in terms of personnel, operations, and technical capacity,” he said.
In 2012, 153 passengers died in Dana air crash in Lagos. Scores of others were killed on ground. The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, in its report, had said mechanical failure and pilot error caused the air crash.
According to the AIB, two engines on the Dana Air flight failed mid-air before it crashed on approaching the Lagos airport.
“Engine number one lost power 17 minutes into the flight, and thereafter on final approach, engine number two lost power and failed to respond to throttle movement on demand for increased power to sustain the aircraft in its flight configuration,” the report stated.
The AIB further noted that the inappropriate omission of the use of the checklist, the crew’s inability to appreciate the severity of the power-related problem, and their subsequent failure to land at the nearest suitable airfield contributed to the crash.