IN what families of the June 3 Dana Airline plane crash victims may find offensive, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the weekend named the airline as the best domestic carrier for 2011.
According to FAAN’s Regional General Manager, Mr. Chris Bature, while the airline was chosen for its good customer relations and prompt payment of dues, Lufthansa Airlines was also selected as the best international carrier for the same period.
The Dana plane crash killed the entire 153 passengers and crew members on board, in addition to other victims in the residential area where the doomed plane slammed into.
Various buildings were also destroyed. The Federal Government promptly seized its license, but restored it 93 days after the crash, provoking outrage across the country.
Speaking at the occasion, Bature stated that the airline was selected because of its outstanding performance. His words: “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.”
Reacting to a question on the timing of the award, Bature explained that the award would have taken place earlier in the year. He also observed that the reward came after the operator’s license had been restored. “In all fairness, they did their best and we need to recognise that and encourage them to get back to their feet,” he added.
Dana’s Station Manager at the Abuja airport, Mr. Kayode Adeniran, stated that the airline’s commitment to best customer service and timely departure earned it the award. He said: “We have this policy in our company that we must not delay passengers and we 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 were so impressed by our service.”
However, he lamented over the loss of lives occasioned by the crash, stressing that the operator visited and commiserated with the families of the deceased.
To prevent a recurrence, the station manager revealed that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has embarked on an investigation to ascertain when the airline would be allowed to commence operations.
He said the airline has commenced demonstration flights as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). He also said that the operation would run until NCAA certifies the carrier fit to resume full operations.