Fast growing domestic carrier Dana Air has received its newly acquired 737-300 aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), in Ikeja, Lagos.
The move is part of the airline’s strategic plan to boost operations through its fleet expansion programme.
It was gathered that the arrival of the airline’s fully financed and owned 737-300 aircraft will be closely followed by another delivery which is slated to arrive in the coming weeks.
With pomp the airline took delivery of the 737-300 winglet with registration number 5N-DNA and a configuration of 143 passengers which flew in from Italy yesterday afternoon.
In a ceremonial manner, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ushered the aircraft with water canon salute before it was taxied to the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).
Commenting on the new acquisition shortly after the aircraft touched down, Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Accountable Manager, Obi Mbanuzor disclosed 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 plan will commence.
According to Mbanuzor, Dana Air would have owned 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 equally maintained that the phase out will happen but in a systematic way.
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”.
Explaining further on the phase out plan, Mbanuzor stated that “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.
Dana Air is one of Nigeria’s airlines with daily flights from Lagos to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Uyo and Owerri. The airline is reputed for its unrivaled on-time performance, innovative online products and superior in-flight service.