The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has grounded Dana Air and suspended its operating licences. This is to enable the regulator to carry out a full audit of its operations to ascertain if the carrier can run safe operations.
The development came barely a few days after the carrier had an emergency landing at the Abuja airport.
NCAA said it was in doubt the carrier could run a safe operation.
A statement by the NCAA partly read, “The decision is the outcome of a financial and economic health audit carried out on the Airline by the Authority, and the findings of an investigation conducted on the Airline’s flight operations recently, which revealed that Dana Air is no longer in a position to meet its financial obligations and to conduct safe flight operations
“The NCAA acknowledges the negative effect this pre-emptive decision will have on the airline’s passengers and the travelling public and seeks their understanding, as the safety of flight operations takes priority over all other considerations.”
However, some angry passengers of Dana Air who were left stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Thursday, vandalised some property of the airline.
The passengers had arrived the airport early on Thursday with the hope of boarding their scheduled flights only to have met Dana Air’s counter unmanned by any of the airline’s personnel.
One of the passengers, who gave his name only as Yakubu, said he was going to miss the birth of his first child.
He said, “My wife is in labour and could have our child at any minute, yet here I am with nobody to tell me the true situation of things. Who does that? I booked this flight only so that I don’t miss the birth of my son and now Dana has decided to mess that up for me. What will I tell my wife or my son when he grows?”
Some of the passengers got violent after waiting for hours only to learn that they would not be flying with Dana Air as a result of the airline’s indefinite suspension by the NCAA.
Hours later, some officials of the airline who arrived at the scene directed the aggrieved passengers to put down their names for possible refund, assuring them that they would begin to get refunds by the weekend or early next week.
The airline reacted to the suspension by appealing to passengers and promising to cooperate with the NCAA.