Nigeria suspends operation of airline involved in plane crash

ABUJA, (PNA/Xinhua) — Nigeria’s aviation authorities on Monday announced a suspension of Associated Airline’s operation in the West African country following last week’s air crash in which at least 13 fatalities were recorded.

Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Fola Akinkuotu said the suspension will last till further notice.

“Let me say for the purpose of clarity, I said their operations, I mean all the operations of Associated Airline have been suspended by the NCAA,” he said.

The airline’s chartered Embraer jet carrying 20 passengers and crew members crash landed last Thursday morning in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Lagos, a few minutes after it took off at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport.

Only seven passengers survived the air crash. Among the survivors, one reportedly died while receiving treatment at the hospital over the weekend, bringing the total number of fatalities to 14.

In a related development, the aviation authorities also announced the suspension of Dana Air’s operation nationwide, for the third time after one of the aviation company’s commercial plane was involved in an air mishap five minutes to touchdown in Lagos, last year.

All 163 passengers and crew members on board the Boeing MD-83 plane lost their lives in the air crash.

Spokesperson of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Yakubu Datti confirmed the grounding of Dana Air’s operation across the country in a statement made available to Xinhua, saying the decision was to allow the regulatory agency to conduct an operational audit on the carrier and its planes.

On March 17, the Nigerian government suspended the operations of the airline in order to resolve certain safety issues but the decision was rescinded days later when the suspension was lifted.

On June 5 2012, two days after the fatal air accident, the government had revoked the operational license of Dana Air and ordered the airline to pay compensations to the families of all the victims of the crash or risk severe sanctions.