Simon Ateba/Aviation correspondent
The animosity between the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and members of the House of Representatives Committee investigating the Dana plane crash worsened on Thursday, P.M.NEWS can reveal.
The lawmakers had on Wednesday called for the sack and criminal prosecution of Dr. Harold Demuren, the NCAA Director General, over the 3 June plane crash.
But NCAA in brawny words on Thursday, excoriated the lawmakers in a statement, and described the reasons they gave for Demuren’s sack and prosecution as ‘falsehood, fallacies and misrepresentation’.
The House report alleged that the Dana MD 83 aircraft type had been phased out all over the world, including the United States, but NCAA laughed off their conclusion, saying, “nothing can be further from the truth”.
“For the records these types of aircraft are still very widely in use in most
countries around the world, with the largest number found among airlines in the US,” said Sam Adurogboye, the Media Assistant to Demuren.
“Worldwide, 207 of the MD 83’s are in use in 21 countries,” NCAA said, listing the countries to include Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, DRC, Croswell, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine, and the USA.
Adurogboye said American Airlines has 86 of such aircraft in its fleet while Allegiant Airline has 49 and Ryan International Airlines is flying the oldest among them, a 27-year old plane.
“This indicates that age of aircraft has little correlation with air-worthiness,” Adurogboye said.
“US Presidential candidate in the last Presidential election, Governor Mitt
Romney used the MD 83 manufactured in 1990, the same year the aircraft in Dana
fleet was manufactured,” NCAA said.
The lawamakers also alleged that in their report that the NCAA does not have any licensed aircraft Inspector type-rated on the MD 83 aircraft but the agency said NCAA has Aviation Safety Inspectors comprising Pilots, and Air-
worthiness experts who are trained on MD83 and effectively carry out day-day
routine regulatory safety oversight on the aircraft.
The Report also said that Nigeria lacks aircraft hanger maintenance facilities, to take charge of the maintenance of aircraft.
But NCAA said it has always been at the forefront of encouraging private investors to establish such facilities in the country.
Adurogboye said NCAA has always insisted on the religious adherence
to the stipulated Maintenance Programme for all airlines as contained in the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Manual (MMM) and NCAA Approved Maintenance
“We want to also emphasise that this mandatory Maintenance
Programme is carried out at designated and NCAA Approved Maintenance
Organisations (AMO) abroad for the purposes of achieving the highest standards of safety,” NCAA said.
The agency explained that that outside maintenance programme is carried out under the strict supervision of NCAA Safety Inspectors.
The report further alleged that NCAA’s DG is incompetent.
But NCAA said Demuren came on board at a time when the nation’s safety record was at his lowest ebb, with series of disastrous air crashes.
“The resulted effect was that foreign airlines from America were banned from flying direct into the Nigerian airspace and vice versa for Nigerian Airline Operator’s Aircraft,” Adurogboye said, adding that today, this has become a thing of the past as the nation, under the
astute leadership of the current DG achieved Category I Status which has also
emboldened ICAO to place the responsibility of helping other African countries like Burundi, Mozambique, and Angola, amongst others on NCAA to meet ICAO Safety standards.
“In view of the fore-going, it is quite clear that whoever is calling for the sack and
prosecution of the NCAA DG on account of the afore-mentioned falsehoods and
misrepresentation of facts has clearly ulterior motives,” NCAA said.
Adurogboye said Nigeria and NCAA, under the leadership of Dr. Demuren was about witnessing six years of free commercial aircraft accident with one million flights and 50 million passengers
without any mishap before the unfortunate DANA crash.
“Nigerians must note that to date, the legitimate accident investigation authority, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is yet to finalise its reports that will reveal the cause(s) of the DANA crash. It is therefore preposterous for anybody that lacks professional expertise in aircraft Accident Investigation is reaching unfounded conclusions on what and who may have been responsible for the accident,” Adurogboye said.