The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) on Tuesday said that Nigeria lost 1,166 lives in 131 aircraft accidents between 1967 and 2012.
Officials of the group spoke at a news conference in Lagos..AON’s Secretary-General, Alhaji Mohammed Joji, who read the group’s address, said that the accidents involved both fixed wings aircraft and helicopters.
“None of these accidents is attributed to any mechanical failure of the aircraft except the last DANA crash which lost its two engines,” Joji said.
He commended the Federal Government and the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, for lifting the suspension placed on Dana Airline following the June 3.
Joji recalled that the mistakes of the past, which resulted in the grounding of aircraft in Nigeria, had negative impact on the aviation industry.
“As a result of this unilateral, punitive and incoherent policy deviation and policy contradiction, Albarka and Savannah Airlines were also forced to close down with a loss of hundreds of jobs.
“Chanchangi Airlines also lost millions of dollars as a result of this distorted policy,” Joji said.
He said the AON was canvassing frequent maintenance of ageing aircraft saying “a well maintained old aircraft is better than a poorly maintained new aircraft.
“New aircraft are often purchased to add capacity to the existing fleet and not to immediately replace the fleet,’’ Joji said.
He said the AON believed that imposing a ban on aircraft above 22 years old was not consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Standard and Recommended Practice and wanted a review.
Joji also said the AON believed it was wrong for the Senate Committee on Aviation to reach a conclusion on the causes of the Dana Air crash before the investigative report was concluded.
“It seems to us in the industry that the committee had already made up its mind before the conclusion of investigation,’’ he said.
Joji said the AON believed such an action could portray the industry in bad light.
At the news conference were AON chairman Dr Steve Mahonwu, the Assistant Secretary-General, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, and Mr Paul Ibe.