Passengers Accuse Dana Air Of Neglect After Port Harcourt Mishap

Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway In Port Harcourt
Photo: Sahara Reporters

The passengers of the near crash landing of Dana Plane at Port Harcourt International Airport are lamenting over what they describe as utter neglect being experienced since the incident occurred.

According to them, no one has come forward to explain what transpired yesterday evening or inform them about how to access their luggage.

One of the passengers also informed our correspondent that contrary to reports, the plane landed normally, but could not explain what happened thereafter.

Meanwhile, Dana Air has refuted claims that they (passengers) have been treated with neglect.

In a statement by the Media Communications Manager, Dana Air, Kingsley Esenwa, “We cannot neglect and will never neglect our guests.

“We have been in touch with them since the incident and have also assured them of our willingness to assist where necessary. We have also provided logistics to ensure that all checked-in items are delivered to them as soon as possible”.

However, it is business as usual as passengers were seen trying to purchase their tickets to their various destinations from the same airline.

Unconfirmed reports have it that some officials of FAAN and Dana Airline are currently at the spot where the Plane ended up, which they say has been cordoned off.

READ ALSO: Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway In Port Harcourt

On Tuesday, a plane belonging to Dana Air overshot the runway in Port Harcourt on Tuesday after landing at the Port Harcourt Airport.

The plane had flown to Port Harcourt from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the nation’s capital Abuja.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed the incident.

She said, “A Dana aircraft numbered 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt airport has overshot the Port Harcourt runway.

“The incident was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.

“No casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.”

The Communications Manager for the airline, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said in a statement the plane “skidded off the runway at the Port Harcourt International Airport, as a result of the bad weather situation and torrential rain at the time of landing”.

The airline commended the pilot for how he handled the issue, adding that all passengers and crew disembarked safely.

CPC Demands Action As Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway

Photo: Sahara Reporters

 

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has called for transparent and responsive action after a plane belonging to Dana Air overshot the runway on Tuesday as it landed at the Port Harcourt Airport in Rivers State.

In a statement by its Director-General, Mr Babatunde Irukera, on Wednesday, the council commended the safe evacuation of all passengers and crew onboard without injury.

READ ALSO: Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway In Port Harcourt

According to them, the cause of the incident is still unknown but under investigation.

The aircraft was damaged while the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had been notified and already in control.

CPC, however, said: “An open, transparent, sensitive and responsive approach by the airline and relevant authorities is vital to sustaining confidence and assuring consumers.

“The Council welcomes this openness and attention to consumers, including providing medical or psychological support where necessary.”

They further congratulated relevant airport and aviation authorities, as well as the airline for the safe evacuation and management of what could otherwise have been tragic.

The Council called for calm as it awaits more information and a detailed investigation by the AIB, in compliance with ICAO standards.

They also informed the public about their communication with the airline and NCAA, adding that they are aware that Dana Air has provided logistic support and accommodation to the passengers.

In this regard, CPC noted that it must be in compliance with minimum standards in accordance with prevailing Regulations under Part 19, Nigerian Civil Aviation Rules (NCAR).

“The Consumer Protection Council, in collaboration with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, other aviation agencies and service providers remain available to all passengers in the sector to answer questions, provide assistance and required assurances at this and other times. Our hotlines are 08056003030 and 08056002020,” the statement read.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, had also confirmed that “no casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.”

“A Dana aircraft numbered 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt airport has overshot the Port Harcourt runway. The incident was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt,” Yakubu had said.

Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway In Port Harcourt

Dana Air Plane Overshoots Runway In Port Harcourt
Photo: Sahara Reporters

 

A plane belonging to Dana Air overshot the runway in Port Harcourt on Tuesday after landing at the Port Harcourt Airport.

The plane had flown to Port Harcourt from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in the nation’s capital Abuja.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed the incident.

She said, “A Dana aircraft numbered 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt airport has overshot the Port Harcourt runway.

“The incident was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.

“No casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.”

The Communications Manager for the airline, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, said in a statement the plane “skidded off the runway at the Port Harcourt International Airport, as a result of the bad weather situation and torrential rain at the time of landing”.

The airline commended the pilot for how he handled the issue, adding that all passengers and crew disembarked safely.

“We commend the Pilot-in-command who was able to control the aircraft to a complete stop, before passengers and crew disembarked,” the statement read in part.

“We also wish to applaud the Captain for exhibiting the highest safety standards and handling the situation professionally.”

Aero Contractors Explains Smoke In PH-Lagos Flight

The management of Aero Contractors, has been explaining the incident that led to the smoke in the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos on Tuesday evening.

The airline’s Managing Director, Captain Ado Sanusi, told Channels Television on Wednesday, that the smoke originated in the cargo section of the aircraft and got into the cabin through the air-conditioning system.

He said the pilot, however conducted the flight and landed safely, adding that the plane is due for a test flight today.

Meanwhile, several reactions have continued to trail the news of the incident. The terrified passengers were seen praying frantically in some videos which were recorded by some passengers and have gone viral on social media.

One of the passengers, who expressed gratitude to God for her safety, took to twitter saying:

“Every one on this Aero Contractor flight could have died today but for God. I’m grateful. Nigerian airports need new directors/ flights.

“God knows I said it that this plane was too old to be functioning in Nigeria before I boarded. At the clinic now getting checked on”

The female passenger also stated that no apology or explanation was given to the passengers.

She however noted that officials of the Fire Service Emergency Unit, were already waiting on the runway as the plane eventually landed safely in Lagos.

Imo Govt. Floats New Airline Says It Will Boost State Economy

Imo Govt. Floats New Airline Says It Will Boost State EconomyThe Imo state government has taken delivery of the first air craft to kick start the first state owned commercial airline named Imo Air.

During the official launch of the new airline at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport in Owerri, the Imo state capital, the Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha said the investment by the state government is to boost its economic activities.

He also believes that it would increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, as well as generate employment opportunities for its teaming unemployed youths.

The Governor noted that it has been his dream and sincere desire to position Imo state on the fast lane of development, prosperity and growth, adding that he won’t rest on his oars until that dream is realised.

He also said that Imo is not affected by the much-talked about recession in the country because according to him, some people might wonder why the state would dabble into airline business in time of recession.

“This is a happy moment in the state. The aim of going into the air business is because I want to drive traffic to Imo state as Imo is genuinely becoming the fastest developing City outside Abuja and Lagos.

“For this, there is need for more airlines to cushion the effects of high traffic coming to the state,” he added.

Furthermore he stated that the “Imo government does not have an operating air license. So we needed to partner with a good and qualified airline operator, hence, the choice of DANA Air because of its proven track record and sincerity of purpose.

“The Imo Air will be operated by DANA and we have a contract of ten years with them. We have five of this aircrafts and the first one has just landed and four others will start operation in few weeks time.

“The International Cargo Airport will soon kick-start to supplement the efforts of Imo Air.

“Work is going on smoothly and by April, the fastest International Cargo Plane will arrive Imo State. This, we believe will help drive up commercial activities in the state.

“Imo is a hub for business and there is no better place to invest now in Nigeria than Imo state. Inspite of the recession, the state is still flourishing and progressing because of its visionary leadership,” Okorocha said.

He also hinted that “Imo Air will offer a 10% discount to all indigenes of the state flying the Plane and the operation will equally employ over 30% of Imo sons and daughters to help in the management of the Imo Air”.

Some dignitaries present at the event lauded the initiative of the state government, stating that it would go a long way to address the shortfalls in air transport in the south east and Nigeria as a whole.

The Commissioner for Work and Transport, Josephine Udoji said “When we launched our Imo Mass Transit buses, we engaged not less than 300 unemployed youths.

“Today they are earning not less than 30,000 Naira and some are earning 50,000 Naira from that project.

“We also came and saw the need to launch the Cabs which we did at a subsidised price so our people can now be owners of cars.

“People are also employed in that sector. Today I have on my desk not less than 473 applications from unemployed youths and they are the people we are going to engage for the services of this Imo Air.

“By all these policies, I think we’ve been alleviating the sufferings of the poor unemployed youths in Imo state.

All our projects are centered on human development.” She said.

Imo Air: Imo Govt. Floats Airline, Says It Will Boost State’s Economy

Imo Govt. Floats New Airline, Says It Will Boost State's EconomyThe Imo state government has taken delivery of the first aircraft to kick start Nigeria’s first state-owned commercial airline named Imo Air.

It was a beehive of activities at Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport as top Imo state government functionaries as well as Imo indigenes gathered to witness the arrival and official launch of the first aircraft in the fleet of the new state government flight operator Imo Air.

At about 11:45AM the aircraft landed from Lagos as people waited anxiously at the tarmac – the first of the five aircraft expected to run the air business for the state government.

While addressing the anxious crowd, the Imo state Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, said the new Imo Air is part of the plans and programmes of the his administration to boost the economy of the state and also generate employment opportunity for unemployed youths in the state.

The Governor said Owerri, Imo state capital, being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and now with a new airline, will become visible on world map, hereby boosting the investment and tourism potential of the state.

The Governor, while fielding questions from journalists after the official launch, said Imo Air is in partnership with a Nigerian local flight operator which will manage and operate the flight for Imo state government.

He said that this is because most times governments do not do well in business and particularly maintaining an airline business.

Some dignitaries present at the event lauded the initiative of the Imo state government acknowledging its potential to address the shortfalls in air transport in the south-east region and Nigeria as a whole.

The government has promised that by April 2017, the remaining four aircraft will arrive the state.

The new airline is expected to ply Lagos, Abuja, Benin, Sokoto, and other major states in the federation.

Senate Wants Dana Airline’s Operating Certificate Revoked

The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to revoke the operating certificate of Dana Airline.

This resolution followed the consideration of the report on the crash of Dana Airline by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Aviation.

The Senate also recommended that the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Harold Demuren be removed from office for negligence and incompetence.

Dana Airline resumed operations last month, seven months after its fleet was grounded following the crash of its flight 992 on a scheduled flight from Abuja to Lagos.

Aviation authorities had temporarily grounded the airline following the crash of its plane in Iju-Ishaga, a Lagos suburb, on June 3, 2012, killing over 160 passengers and crew members as well as those on the ground in the neighbourhood.

The House of Representatives had in December made public the recommendations by its Committee on Aviation which, among others, directed that Dana Air should be stopped from operating and that Mr Demuren, should be sacked.

Dana Air Crash: Bodies Of Pilot and Co-Pilot Not Found

The bodies of the two pilots of the crashed Dana Air’s MD-83 Plane which crashed and claimed the lives of 153 passengers were not found at the site of the crash as they were completely incinerated by the post-crash inferno.

153 body bags were recovered from the site of the Dana Crash of the 3rd of June, 2012. Of that figure, the Pathologists conducting an inquest into the cause of the crash were able to identify the bodies of 148 persons.

These details were given in court on Friday when the Chief Medical Examiner and Consultant Pathologist of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof. John Obafunwa, testified before a Coroner Court sitting at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

The American Pilot, Mr. Peter Waxtan, 55, and his Indian Co-Pilot, Mr. Mahendra Rathore, 34, whose bodies were not found were among the 153 persons aboard the plane and other persons on the ground, were killed in the crash.

Prof Obafunwa, who along with other experts conducted series of postmortem tests on the bodies recovered from the crash site, said a total of nine persons among the 153 persons aboard the plane could not be identified.

He said the team of experts could not identify the bodies of the Pilot and the Co-Pilot after exhaustive deliberation and consultation.

“Bodies of other crew members were however identified.”

He said apart from Waxtan, and Rathore, who were certain to be on the plane, the other seven names of passengers on the manifest whose bodies were not found, might actually not have boarded the plane.

The consultant testified that “it is either these individuals were not on board the plane or some other passengers used their names to get on board.

“It is also possible some of them were completely incinerated” he added.

According to Prof Obafunwa, among the 148 bodies identified with their names, three of them were identified through the DNA analysis carried out in the United Kingdom and the three were discovered to be among the bodies of those who died on the ground.

Bags of body parts

Led in evidence by the counsel for the state’s Attorney General, Mr Akinjide Bakare, the pathologist said three unidentified bodies were still being kept in the mortuary

He said among the 153 body bags received by his team, two among the bags contained different parts of the body of the same person.

The pathologist also tendered in court the final report of the series of tests carried out on the bodies.

The autopsy reports on the 148 identified bodies with their names and 170 CDs of images also formed part of documents admitted as exhibits at Friday’s proceedings.

The images in the CDs, part of which were shown during the proceedings contained the X-rays, dental structure, bodies of the identified victims and bone samples of some of the victims.

Prof Obafunwa said two-thirds of the bodies removed were burnt beyond recognition, some suffered “heat fracture”, a situation whereby some limbs were completely burnt out, and some were decapitated.

Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has adjourned till January 25 for lawyers representing Dana Air and other parties to cross-examine the Pathologist.

Dana Air Resumes Lagos to Abuja Flight at N11,799

Dana Air; banned from flying after one of its flights crashed and killed 153 people last year, resumed flights on Friday, selling its online ticket for the Lagos-Abuja flight at almost half the price of other airlines.

The renewed flight; Dana Air Flight 9J353 left the Murtala Muhammed Airport II in Lagos, a few minutes after 10am and landed in Abuja at 11.05am with celebrities, journalists amongst its passengers.

The passengers gave a loud cheer and applause as the flight landed Abuja safely on Friday.

Tickets for the resumed flights were sold at half the price of normal flights charged by other airlines.

A one-way ticket to Abuja from Lagos was sold at N11,799 when other airlines charge about N25,000.

The resumption of the flight comes amidst criticisms and the call by the House of Representatives for a revocation of the airline’s licence, a few months after aviation authorities restored the licence.

Meanwhile the spokesperson of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Sam Adurogboye, has stated that the airline is now fit to fly following a rigorous five step re-certification process.

Dana Air’s McDonnell Douglas MD-83 crashed into an apartment block in a densely populated suburb of Iju Ishaga in Lagos on June 3, killing everyone on board and 10 people on the ground.

The airline which was banned from flying after the crash resumed operations with its five remaining MD-83s, starting with a flight from Lagos to Abuja on Friday.

The Federal Government lifted the ban on the airline in September while investigation was on-going on the crash.

FAAN names Dana Airline as best domestic airline in Nigeria

Despite an air crash that claimed the lives of 153 people four months ago, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over the weekend named Dana Air as the best domestic carrier for 2011.

According to FAAN’s Regional General Manager, Mr. Chris Bature, said the airline is yet to commence flights since the crash but was awarded the prize for its good customer relations and prompt payment of dues.

The Federal Government seized Dana Air’s license following the air disaster, but restored the license 93 days after the crash.

Speaking at the occasion, Bature stated that the airline was selected because of its outstanding performance and punctuality while Lufthansa Airlines was also selected as the best international carrier for the same period.

He explained that “mode of selection includes passenger capacity, frequency of the landing and take-off, their response to payment of bills.”

“Among the domestic carriers, they were the best. They had the best volume; they were punctual in their operations” he added.

Reacting to a question on the timing of the award which is coming four months after the June 3 Dana Air crash, Mr Bature explained that the award would have taken place earlier in the year and that the reward came after the operator’s license had been restored.

“In all fairness, they did their best and we need to recognize that and encourage them to get back to their feet,” he added.

Dana’s Station Manager at the Nnamdi Azikwe Airport in Abuja, Mr. Kayode Adeniran, stated that the airline’s commitment to best customer service and timely departure earned its the award.

“We have this policy in our company that we must not delay passengers, we have introduced another type of system. If your flight is delayed by 40 minutes, we give refreshments to all passengers that already had their boarding passes. So people will be impressed by our service” he said.

He however lamented the loss of lives by the crash, stressing that the operator visited and commiserated with the families of the deceased.

To prevent such a recurrence, the station manager revealed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on series of investigation to ascertain when the airline would be allowed to commence operations following the lifting of the ban on the airline by the federal government.

He noted that the airline has commenced demonstration flights as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and that the operation would run until NCAA certifies the carrier fit to resume full operations.

The Dana Air crash on June 3, killed the entire 153 passengers and crew members on board and a number of people as the plane crashed into a densely populated area of Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state. A number of buildings were also destroyed by the crash.

 

 

Court strikes out suit seeking to halt inquest into Dana Air crash

A Federal High Court Judge, Lagos has vacated the interim order which suspended the proceedings of a coroner’s inquest into the crash of Dana Air plane in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State earlier in the year.

The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, in a ruling on Friday, also struck out an application for interlocutory injunction seeking to stop the proceedings of the inquest pending the hearing of the substantive suit.

The Judge noted that the issues raised in support and against the application for interlocutory injunction were “substantially the same” and as such granting it would amount to impinging on the substance of the substantive suit.

The plaintiffs, a non-governmental organisation, the Civil Aviation Round Table Initiative and its President, Captain Dele Ore, challenged the powers of the coroner to conduct any inquest into the cause of the plane crash.

The judge had, on August 28 with the consent of the counsel of all the parties in the suit, granted the interim order to put the proceedings of the inquest on hold pending the hearing of the application for injunction.

In his ruling on the application on Friday, Justice Abang struck out the application and discharged the interim order.

“I could not agree with the learned counsel for the plaintiff, Collins Ogbonna, that the refusal of the application will foist on the court a situation of fait accompli” Justice Abang stated.

“This is because if the plaintiffs at the end of the day succeed in their claim, all the steps taken by the 1st to 4th defendants will set aside and accordingly nullified.

He therefore ruled that the “accelerated hearing of the suit is hereby ordered”, adding that “the interim order I made on August 28 is hereby discharged and is accordingly vacated.”

According to Justice Abang, “the issues raised by the parties for and in opposition in the application for interlocutory injunction are substantially the same issues raised by the parties in support and in opposition in the main originating summons.”

“If I decide on the issue raised by the plaintiffs now, the court would have decided the main matter in an interlocutory application without hearing all the parties in the suit.”

He also awarded the cost of N10,000 against the applicants, in favour of the 1st to 4th defendants who had opposed the application.

The 1st to 4th defendants who opposed the application are the coroner presiding over the inquest, Mr. Oyetade Komolafe, the Lagos State Chief Coroner, the state Chief Judge, and the Attorney-General of the state.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, the Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Accident Investigation Bureau, the Nigeria Airspace Management Authority, and Dana Air are the 5th to 10th defendants.

Dana, a defendant in the suit, had filed an affidavit in support of the plaintiff’s application, a development which Abang described as “novel”.

Abang, who had admitted the affidavit after overruling counsel for the 1st to 4th, Mr. Akinjide Bakare, disregarded the affidavit in his ruling holding that “there is no provision in the rules of this court that allows the defendant to use such affidavit.”

He adjourned till October for the hearing of pending applications for joinder as parties in the suit.

Aviation Minister denies demanding 5 percent equity from Arik Air

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah on Friday denied the allegations of demanding five percent equity from the management of Arik Air.

In a press statement released by Joe Obi, the Special Adviser to the Aviation Minister, Ms Oduah said the allegations “is absurd, malicious and ultimately laughable.”

The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah

The Vice-Chairman of Arik Air, Aniete Okon, while addressing journalists in Lagos on Thursday had said that the airline is being punished for its refusal to accede to the personal interest of Ms Oduah.

“This is a direct result to the rebuff that the minister suffered when she tried to promote personal rather than national interest,” Mr Okon had said.

An online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES reportedly quoted a source as specifically saying that “the Minister wants 5 percent share of Arik at all cost, which has been resisted by the Arik Chairman.”

Ms Oduah however said her “first impulse is to totally ignore this groundless falsehood. Except that it will send the wrong signals to the general public.”

In the statement, the Minister’s aide said the “5 percent equity story is without any foundation whatsoever.

“The Honorable Minister of Aviation could not have contemplated acquiring a stake in any airline, let alone Arik Air that is groaning from a crippling N85.4 billion debt overhang.

“The time is ripe for Arik Air to change its business module that ‘thrives’ on unprecedented accumulation of debts and liabilities. The futile attempt to impugn the integrity of the Aviation Minister by inferring a conflict of interest against her is at best diversionary. It should be obvious to the management of Arik Air that blackmail is not a panacea for a floundering enterprise,” the statement reads.

Mr Obi said the Minister has directed her lawyers to seek legal redress over the allegation by the management of Arik Air.