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Hopes that the cause of last Sunday’s Dana Air plane crash would be made public soon may be misplaced, as it was learnt yesterday that the outcome of the findings from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), otherwise known as the black box of the ill-fated plane would be ready in twelve months in the earliest.

The two black boxes of the ill-fated Dana Flight 0992 that claimed the lives of over 200 persons were flown to the United States of America on Thursday for decoding by experts at the Accident Investigations Bureau (AIB) in New York.

LEADERSHIP WEEKEND learnt from the Ministry of Aviation in Abuja that the 12-month waiting period is in tandem with the global practice in the aviation industry. However, our investigation further revealed that preliminary reports on the findings could be released, pending when the final report would be ready.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND, Mr. Joe Obi, special assistant (media) to the minister of aviation said, ‘The report of the investigation on the black boxes cannot come out before 12 months. There will be preliminary reports, but the final report will be in one year. We will try to see if the investigation can be fast-tracked so that the result can be released early enough.”

Mr. Obi said that the ministry would refrain itself from apportioning blame until the release of the final report. ‘Until we get the result or the findings from the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), we cannot pin it down to regulations or non-adherence,” he said.

However, he noted that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has so far performed creditably, though it cannot totally eliminate accidents in the industry. ‘Prior to 2006, we know what was happening. The fact that NCAA has been up to the task does not eliminate accidents. You cannot eliminate accident 100 per cent. This accident is a wake-up call. In terms of regulation of the sector, they have been doing their best,” the minister’s spokesman explained.

Asked what the ministry is doing about the age of the air craft flying in our airspace, he said that President Goodluck Jonathan had set up a panel that would investigate a broad spectrum of issues, adding that the committee’s report would serve as a guide.

The spokesman, however, noted that there is a consensus by experts in the aviation industry that the age of the aircraft does not matter much in-so-far as such aircraft undergo routine checks and maintenance.

In the aftermath of the crash, President Jonathan had set up a nine-member Technical and Administrative Review Panel to “perform a comprehensive assessment of all the domestic scheduled airlines”.

The panel, which was given six weeks to turn in its report, was also mandated to ensure that management culture as well as the effectiveness of NCAA’s oversight of airline maintainable practice is maintained and enhanced.

The panel, is to also assess the financial health of airlines that are operating within the country.

The members of the committee includes: Capt. John Obakpolor (retd), chairman; Capt. Austin Omame, Capt. Dele Sasegbon, Dr. O.B. Aliu, Mr. F.C. Onyeyiri, Capt. Mfon Udom, Capt. Muhtar Usman, Dr. Tony Anuforom and Capt. A. Mshelia.

Culled from

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