The situation in Nigeria has put African aviation safety back into the spotlight. According to IATA, the rate of hull losses per million sectors flown improved to 6.17 in 2011 from 15.68 in 2010. The figures include Western- and Eastern-built jets as well as turboprops. Matschnigg says the performance this year so far has not changed much. But at a recent IATA regional summit on airline safety, a five-point action plan for Africa was drawn up calling for:
•Government-initiated development of robust safety oversight.
•Focus on runway excursions—the most common accident category in the region.
•Loss-of-control prevention training. •Improved data sharing.
•More widespread use of IATA's Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).
In Nigeria, only two carriers have undergone IOSA—Arik Air and Air Nigeria, the airline that was temporarily grounded last week.
The cause of the Dana Air crash, the worst aviation accident anywhere this year, is still unknown. The crew, comprising a U.S. captain and an Indian first officer, is reported to have declared an emergency around 11 nm out, at an altitude of 5,000 ft. According to NCAA, the crew, along with listing the dual engine failure, also reported that the throttle was not responding. The aircraft touched down at a very nose-high altitude, according to eyewitnesses, which indicates slow airspeed. There have been reports about a possible birdstrike as a causal factor. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were recovered on June 4.
On that same day, NCAA revoked Dana Air's air operator's certificate for an indefinite period “for safety and precautionary reasons.” The airline had already suspended all operations.
According to Dana Air, the captain had accumulated 18,500 flight hours, 7,100 on MD-83s. The first officer had flown 1,100 hours, 800 of them on MD-83s. The aircraft had logged 60,846 hr. and 35,219 cycles. Its last A check was performed on May 30 and the next C check was set for September. Some staff members have reported that the aircraft had to undergo frequent repairs in the past, but that could not be independently confirmed, and previous flaws might not be linked to the cause of the accident. The aircraft, registered 5N-RAM, was originally delivered to Alaska Airlines in 1990 and sold to Dana Air in 2009.