The association, which lamented the death of over 150 passengers in the Dana plane crash, appealed to the presidency to also consider the financial and traumatic situation the workers of those airlines would be going through when they are not in operations.
Dana Air operator’s certificate was suspended few days after one of its plane crashed at Iju-Ishaga in Lagos killing all 153 on board and about 10 on the ground.
The operators said Dana had since continued to pay salaries of its staff since the situation even though it is not in operations.
“I write as the Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to solicit for the kind gesture of the Honourable Minister of Aviation and that of Mr. President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the release of Dana Air to continue her commercial operation post the unfortunate accident of Sunday, 3rd June, 2012 in which lives were lost. Loss of life of any kind in any accident is regrettable and is always full of emotions especially with regard to the families of the bereaved and the nation at large.
“The chairman, management and over 540 staff of Dana Air are indeed very worried about the continued suspension of the airline’s operations without any notice of a new date of possible resumption. As a result of the suspension, the entire staff of Dana Air, their families, and other dependants risk losing their source of livelihood. The operators of the airline also risk losing huge and significant investments in Nigeria’s fledging aviation industry.
“On staff salaries alone for its over 540 staff, the airline currently spends about N90 million per month. Besides, the staff salaries, there are other overheads such as the office and staff accommodation, and the increase in insurance premium.
“The preliminary report on the accident released by the AIB did not indict Dana Airline of any wrong doing. The airline is also fully committed to assisting the families of those who lost their lives, as well as properties, during the incident, and has already begun compensating the families in accordance with the law.”
The operators noted that the trend of grounding airlines and phasing out of a particular fleet of aircraft each accident is becoming a recurring culture in the Nigerian aviation industry. This is certainly contrary to the practice in most of the ICAO-member countries.
“Without fear of contradiction, one could say that airlines are now shadows of their former selves. Many professional jobs were lost as a result of lack of consistency in government policies on aviation.
“I wish to seize this opportunity to urge the Honourable Minister in consideration of the foregoing and in the larger interest of the aviation industry and Nigerians to allow Dana Airlines to continue with its normal operations in Nigeria. In addition, the minister is also requested to revisit similar issues currently affecting the ADC Airlines and Sosoliso, so that consideration shall be made for their restoration in the aviation market”, they said.