By Samson Echenim
Dana Air weekend, took delivery of one of its two ordered Boeing 737-300 in a strategic plan to expand its fleet and begin operation on new routes.
The two aircraft are the airline’s fully financed and fully owned, according to Obi Mbanuzor, Dana Air’s chief operating officer (COO) and accountable manager.
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 a.m. on Friday.
Commenting on the expansion plan, Mbanuzor said 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 would commence, even as he signaled that the airline before the end of the year would own nine aircraft due to its recent acquisitions.
Mbanuzor said the airline also had plans to phase out its existing aircraft, the McDonnel Douglas (MD083) but explained that the phase out would not be automatic as the MD has its many advantages and its uses in the Nigerian market.
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.
“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 our 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 Nigerian routes.”