DANA Air has commenced putting together its aircraft manuals and other operational requirements to scale through the International Operations Safety Audit (IOSA), carried out by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) , its accountable manager Mr Obi Mbanuzuo has disclosed .
Mbanuzuo said the airline is set to achieve the safety certification before the end of the year.
He said relevant workshops concern how to close gaps in its operations and operations manual required for the IOSA audit had been completed.
The DANA Air manager said the audit is relevant to the airline as a safety component which would enable it keep its operations with prescribed international standards, as one of the ten airlines selected in Africa to scale the safety certification.
Part of the steps to be taken according to Mbanuzuo, include harmonising and increasing its aircraft fleet as well as acquire new aircraft type after completion of the audit.
He said DANA Air has improved its training capacity by adhering to regulatory training programmes scheduled for pilots, aircraft engineers, cabin crew and flight dispatchers to keep them In touch with global safety requirements.
The DANA Air manager said about 34 new cabin crew professionals, ten pilots and 20 aircraft engineers were undergoing training, as part of efforts by the airline to reduce dependence on expatriate crew professionals.
He disclosed that the airline would expand its flight services to different cities in Nigeria in response to passengers’ request, after its managers have confirmed feasibility and profitability of such operations.
He observed that cooperation among domestic carriers should be encouraged as it would enhance passenger convenience, increase airlines’ revenue as well as take care of unscheduled challenges.
He said DANA Air was already in partnership through interline operational agreement with two domestic car totes to cater for challenges that may come up during flight operations.
He said the airline after the IOSA audit would acquire additional aircraft to enable it make foray into routes in the West African sub region.
He said Lagos – Accra would be the pilot in the West Coast expansion plan.
He called on government to put the right policies in place to cushion the burden of domestic airlines, which he said are struggling with huge and increasing operating costs to keep their operations afloat.
He listed the challenges domestic carriers grapple with to include: unfriendly business environment, high cost of aviation fuel, increasing exchange rate, high cost of aircraft lease, high insurance costs , and imposition of Value Added Tax ( VAT) on air transport .
He said:” If the right policies are put in place by government, the operating environment would make air transport business attractive .
Because of unfriendly policies, airlines are unable to recover their costs. Why should airlines pay value added tax on tickets, when other modes of transport are exempted, Why can we not achieve local refining of aviation fuel to bring down the price of the product?
With airlines paying between thirty to thirty five per cent as operating charges, how do you expect airlines to survive? Domestic airlines need intervention from government to keep their operations afloat.
“We are still studying the content of the proposed airlines stimulus package by the ministry of aviation to enable consider if there is need to access it.”
“Above all, domestic airlines want polices that would drive industry growth.”