DOMESTIC operator, Dana Air has initiated its fleet expansion program with the arrival of the airline’s fully financed and owned 737-300 aircraft, the first of two aircraft slated to arrive in the coming weeks.
The airline took delivery of its 737-300 winglet with registration number 5N-DNA and a configuration of 143 passengers arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) from Italy around 1:30 am this morning.
After the water canon salute by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) today as the aircraft taxied to the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal two, its base of operations, the airline’s top executive unveiled what was in store for the airline in the nearest future.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Accountable Manager, Obi Mbanuzor revealed that with the arrival of the new aircraft 5N-DNA and the coming of a second 5N-DNB in a couple of weeks, the airline’s route expansion and solidification will commence, even as he signaled that the airline before the end of the year would own 9 aircraft due to its recent acquisitions.
Mbanuzor said the airline also has plans to phase out its existing aircraft, the McDonnel Douglas (MD083) but explained that the phase out will not be automatic as the MD has its many advantages and its uses in the Nigerian market, he however stated that the phase out will happen but systematically.
He said,” Currently, the Boeing aircraft is the most popular passenger aircraft in Nigeria. Dana Air went through a long road in this and we have had it as a plan for a long time but it was staggered due to economic and other realities as the case was but now here we are. You journalists kept asking for fleet renewal and we have obliged you and our teeming passengers with this.
On the phase out,” There are plans in place to phase out the MD-83 and those plans are being re-evaluated. As you know some airlines fly 747 due to their particular needs while others are phasing that aircraft out. For us, the MDs have been very good. We won’t give you a date for the phase out now but for now, we are still flying both aircraft type.
“Dana Air is slow and steady and methodological, we don’t open routes just like that but we take out time and on the recommencement of our West Coast routes, we have that as a plan maybe from 2020 upwards but for now we are concentrating on serving Nigeria routes, Mbanuzor said