By Chuks Okoh
Dana Air said Tuesday that it has concluded plans to undergo the International Operations Safety Audit ( IOSA), carried out by the International Air Transport Association ( IATA), the global airline regulator .
Speaking at the flag off of the Lagos – Port Harcourt flight operations at the Murtala Muhamed Airport, ( MMA2), terminal in Lagos, the Chief Operating Officer/ Accountable Officer of DANA Air , Mr. Yvan Drewinsky said the airline is one of the ten carriers selected by the African Union ( AU), to undergo the global safety operational audit. African Union he said will pick the bill of the audit as part of its assistance programme to African carriers.
He said the African Union will be facilitating training and other logistics that would assist DANA Air achieve the audit before the end of this year. He said DANA Air is investing in the acquisition of more stare of the art aircraft to boost its operations beyond the traditional triangular routes of Lagos- Abuja -Port Harcourt and other destinations .
He said the return of DANA Air has engendered competition aiming carrier resulting in the reduction of air fares .
He said :” African union last year decided to sponsor 10 airlines to make them more
safe and pay for their IOSA.We have been selected as one of the 10 airlines by the African union, the first workshop with IATA will come up in Lagos in March this year .
For one week, we will have trainers, instructors, people helping us to become IOSA
He explained that the airline is committed to the achievement of IOSA audit, which
started last year.
Also he asserted that though the certification for the audit takes about six to nine months, it would be achieved before the end of the year.
According to him,the airline has made progress since it relaunched its operation, achieving over seventy per cent of the passenger load factor .
Especially he noted that the expansion into Port Harcourt route is evidence that the airline has received acceptance from passengers.” How has it been since you restarted operations, passenger wise, it has been good and increasing and certainly increasing in the right direction, that allows us to put Port-Harcourt on the line. We planned to open Port –Harcourt at the month and we moved it because the loads are good and the people are demanding it, so we need to basically serve the people and let the people decide, that is what we did,” he said.
On the performance on the Abuja route, he said :” It is going on well, its increasing, we had a full load last weekend that shows that we are doing well and going into the right direction.”
On plans to expand route operations , he said :” No plans for that at the moment, it is in plans to do regional, because it will be good for the airline, but for now, lets do and stabilize what we have right now and build on strong bases which actually Abuja, Port-Harcourt, it has worked every where round the world so why won’t it work in Nigeria.”
Speaking on plans to acquire more aircraft, the DANA Air boss said :” Yes we are expecting more Boeing, we discussing with a number of companies on the possibility of bringing more Boeing 737. Aside Lagos Abuja and Port Harcourt where else are you flying .Wherever the customers want us to fly, we will fly,.It is very difficult to say because you don’t want to say something and then suddenly you change plans. Right now , you need to have it triangular, you know we used to fly to Uyo,
Calabar, Kano, Enugu those are on the plan, but then the demands of the customers and we need to certainly build up, we build up Abuja, now we are going to build up Port –Harcourt and we are going to take the next step. No plans for that at the moment, it is in plans to do regional, because it will be good for the airline, but for now, lets do and stabilize what we have right now and build on strong bases which actually Abuja, Port-Harcourt, it has worked every where round the world so why won’t it work in Nigeria.”
On the choice of a new minister of aviation, the DANA Air manager said :” I think maybe having someone who understands the specifics of the industry.Aviation is a very harsh market, one of the most costly markets in the world between the insurance, the taxes, between the bills, between everything else you need to actually have a strong back up to sustain the growth of an airline within Nigeria . The new minister to be appointed must look into how to develop airport operational infrastructure. Doing this means operating costs for airlines could come down . The collapse of many airlines is due largely to the high cost of operations .This is why you have so many airlines coming in and disappearing at the same time because it is obviously very hard to survive .”
By Chuks Okoh