Following the lifting of the suspension on the airline's operating licence by the Federal Government, Dana Air Thursday said it has started preparation to commence operations with plans to carry out trainings for its members of staff.
The preparation by the airline, however, came on the heels of a close-door meeting held by the Lagos State Government and families of the plane crash victims, after which many of the victims' relations questioned the recent restoration of the airline's operating licence.
Also, the Nigerian Airline Passengers Association (NAPA) called on airline passengers to boycott aircraft belonging to DANA Airlines, when it resumes operations in the interest of their safety, until all the issues concerning the crash are resolved.
The airline's flight 0992 crashed on June 3, killing 163 persons in Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos.
But, the Head of Corporate Communications of the airline, Mr. Tony Usidamen, in a statement, said Dana Air has started the process of recertification by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which would involve the detailed examination of its fleet, operational system and technical crew.
Usidamen said plans had been concluded for members of staff of the airline to undergo some refresher programmes in order to keep them updated and in tune with the latest developments in the aviation sector, adding that it was the standard in the industry for any airline to undergo recertification after its operations were grounded for several weeks.
"This is a standard safety measure taken by the authorities to ensure that all the aircrafts in the fleet are fully serviceable, and we are cooperating fully in the exercise. Of the five aircraft in the airline's fleet, three are currently at MMA2, while two are undergoing the statutory 'C-Checks' at the MyTechnic Engineering base in Istanbul, Turkey.
"Dana Air had built a reputation as the preferred airline for travel across Nigeria and we are determined to improve on our offerings and offer our guests an unparalled level of service excellence when we resume operations shortly," Usidamen said.
On insurance and payment of benefits to the families of the victims of the crash, Usidamen maintained that but for the issues of multiple claims and the delay in getting certain required insurance documents from concerned families, most of the families would have been fully compensated.
"The provision of safe, reliable world-class air transport services has always been our focus at Dana Air and we will continue to adhere strictly to safety procedures as required by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act and all other relevant local and international regulations," he added.
However, at the closed-door meeting in Lagos, Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), demanded a comprehensive reform of the country's aviation industry in order to prevent such air disaster in the future, a position which all the victims' families supported.
The meeting, which had Fashola's deputy, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefilure; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeola Ipaye; and his special duties counterpart, Dr. Wale Ahmed, among others in attendance, was used to discuss such issues as memorial interdenominational service for the victims, unclaimed and unidentified bodies as well as the state of the nation's aviation industry.
After a meeting which lasted two hours at the Lagos House, Fashola said nine bodies "are yet to be claimed while scientific examination has been 141 bodies. Out of the nine, five of their families have not come out to enable our experts to collect samples for the test. At least, 89 death certificates have been issued."
The governor also tasked the Federal Government to ease opportunity the crash offered to reform the aviation sector, which the victims' families said, was in a terrible state.
A number of the victims' relations also expressed profound disappointment in what they described as the sudden restoration of operating licence to the management of Dana Airline Limited despite the incident of June 3.
One of the victims' relations, Mr. Seke Somolu, challenged the Federal Ministry of Aviation to publish a complete report of an investigation into the Dana plane crash.
"We know that there are problems in the industry. We all know that the industry actors do not comply with international best practice. These are obvious facts no person can deny. We are calling for a radical change in the industry. We want to know why Dana Airline came back to operation. There should not be conspiracy in the report of the investigation conducted. All findings should be made public," Somolu said.
Speaking also, another victims' relation, Mr. Akinola Cole, lamented poor response of the insurance company, which he said, was supposed to compensate families of all the victims involved in the plane crash.
He said it was an obvious fact that the country's insurance industry "is in a mess. Insurance companies do not normally want to pay compensation. Till date, I do not know any person who has been paid compensation. It is sad."
While Mr. Ahmad Damcida, upheld the call for safe air services, Mrs. Onye Okocha, explained the need to get to the roots of what led to the crash of the Dana plane, insisting that issues revolving the crash should be swept under carpet.
"If Nigeria must move forward, Okocha tasked the Federal Government to make public what exactly happened to the Dana plane in order to avert any future air disaster. We are not finger-pointing. But Nigerians need to know what happened. So, there is an urgent need to get to the roots to the incident if we must move forward," he said.
Meanwhile, NAPA in a statement signed by its President, Donald Nwandu, and Executive Director, Umar Lukman, stated that since the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was still probing the cause of the crash, it would have been too hasty and insensitive to allow the airline resume operations.
The association also wondered how an airline, whose aircraft was involved in a fatal crash that claimed 163 lives three months ago could given a clean bill of health to fly, even when the AIB was yet to release its report on the crash.