Dana plane crash: Airline operators boss, others say age has nothing to do with airworthiness
WorldStage Newsonline-- Chairman of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Dr. Steve Mahounwu and some industry experts have advised intending travellers on the age of aircraft in the fleets of airlines in the country, saying age has nothing to do with the airworthiness of any aircraft, but mandatory regular maintenance.
Coming against the backdrop of the recent publication of the age of aircraft on the fleets of all the airlines operating in the country following the crash involving a Dana airliner, which led to the death of all the 153 passengers on board and six people on the ground, the experts said, a new aircraft that is not regularly maintained is far more dangerous than an old aircraft that is well maintained.
Mahounwu said, such publication was capable of creating psychological problems for intending air travellers.
He insisted that if an airline regularly goes for all the mandatory checks, such as the “C” and “D” checks during which the whole aircraft is overhauled, “it will come back like a new one”.
The Secretary-General of AON, Captain Mohammed Joji, corroborated Mahounwu, saying that the fact that an aircraft is still relatively new is not a factor in determining its airworthiness, “but how regularly all the checks are done”.
Apparently not happy with publications in some newspapers and some of the decisions of the Federal Government since last Sunday’s incident, Joji said that it was wrong for the Senate to have set up a panel to probe the airlines, adding that aviation is a technical sector that should be handled by professionals.
Another expert and retired pilot, who pleaded for anonymity, said “it goes beyond what the newspapers are publishing”, asking rhetorically: “Have the newspapers made any attempt to check the records of maintenance of all these aircraft, especially the supposedly new ones?”
According to him, “some preferred airlines, which the newspaper publications made the passengers to belief have new fleets, have actually not done their mandatory checks in recent times. Some are in the last lap of the minimum time allowed for such checks, yet they were said to have new aircraft. It’s unfair to airlines that are regularly maintaining their aircraft, because those with new ones may take some things for granted, believing that, after all, the planes are still new.
“We need to go beyond publishing the age of aircraft to digging deep into when last each airline carried out the mandatory maintenance on each of their aircraft.”
Meanwhile, some passengers have lamented what they referred to as the chaotic situation at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT).
Mrs. Sarah Idowu, an Abuja-bound passenger, expressed shock at the weekend over the state of the terminal.
“I’m shocked with the chaos going on here. Can’t we for once do something decently in Nigeria? This is my first time of coming here to board a plane. I have always used the more decent MMA2 (Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two). What is happening here is incredible”.
Another passenger, Alhaji Jubril Garba, was angry that despite the fact that his flight was delayed, “I don’t have any comfort here; I can’t breadth fresh air, the whole place is in disarray.”
Mrs. Emily Okon, a Port Harcourt-bound passenger, was livid, saying that “after today, I won’t have anything doing here (at GAT) and the airline operating here. Touts have taken over the whole place. The construction too is adding to the chaos
“Somebody should tell the people doing this that we deserve a better treatment. This kind of environment is not good for our image.”
The GAT is currently being rebuilt by the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, as part of the government Airport Remodelling Project.