Low Patronage Hits Dana Air as PH Int’l Airport Reopens for Operations


Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Normal flight operations resumed wednesday morning at the Port Harcourt International Airport following a shutdown of operations last Tuesday evening when Dana Air suffered a near mishap when its flight from Abuja overshot the runway and ended up in the bush.

Although the 44 passengers and five crew members were safely evacuated from the plane, passengers shunned the Dana Air platform when the runway of the airport was reopened by 9a.m. yesterday for operations.

The airport’s runway was shut down by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from the period of the accident at about 6:50p.m. last Tuesday until 9a.m. yesterday morning when normal flight operations resumed.
When THISDAY visited the airport yesterday morning, there were frantic efforts by passengers to reschedule flights as the FAAN Port Harcourt reportedly shut down operations after the incident.

Also the check-in and ticketing area of Dana airline was almost empty, with the few persons there either asking for refund or rescheduling their flights.

THISDAY gathered from a staff of FAAN who wished not to be named that the accident quick response team of DANA Airline had earlier visited the accident site for necessary assessment and luggage clearance.

The staff stated that the assessment team’s verification came before the runway was re-opened for flight operations.

Although efforts to reach the Public Relations Officer of DANA Air was not successful, some passengers expressed dissatisfaction over poor handling of information as regards the crash.

A passenger, Mr. Eru Omana, said the airline should have been temporarily suspended until proper investigations were concluded and the safety of the airline ascertained.

“It is so unfortunate that the issue that concerns human life is treated, and without appropriate information on this crash, Dana is already flying this morning.

“I understand there are no casualties but proactive steps should be taken to check re-occurrence and this can only be reached when investigations are carried out,” he said.

The Dana aircraft flight 9J0363 from Abuja to Port Harcourt airport was still in the bush where it stopped after overshooting the runway as at the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was still being expected at the accident site.