Dana Air (9J, Lagos) has confirmed it has furloughed an unspecified number of employees while the airline remains grounded during an ongoing audit of its operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Nigeria's aviation minister, Festus Keyamo, ordered the suspension of Dana Air's operations on April 24 after the airline's sole MD-82, 5N-BKI (msn 49482), suffered a runway excursion at Lagos a day earlier.

"The audit, currently underway, is a collaborative effort between Dana Air and the authorities to ensure compliance with all necessary standards and regulations," the airline said in a statement. "Dana Air reaffirms its commitment to full cooperation with the authorities to facilitate a smooth and expedited resolution of the audit process."

It said that Dana Air's management was working to address any concerns by the NCAA and was preparing a restart plan, adding: "While these challenges are being addressed, Dana Air has commenced talks with lessors and is currently engaging stakeholders on the progress made so far. Dana Air is confident that with the continued support of its staff and stakeholders, it will overcome these challenges and emerge stronger than ever."

The carrier urged its staff to remain calm amid some employees' suspension from work. "This decision has been made to ensure efficient management of resources and to facilitate a thorough review of operational procedures," it explained.

Nigeria's The Sun newspaper reported that Dana Air had "laid off" about 1,000 employees, including 583 permanent staff members and expatriates, on May 9. Emails it had seen suggested the termination was permanent. Allegations arose that the company was not following proper termination procedures and had failed to provide severance pay.

Unnamed sources claimed the airline had not paid pensions to some employees since the fatal crash of Dana Air Flight 0992 on June 3, 2012 when an MD-83 suffered a dual-engine failure during its approach to Lagos, killing all 153 people on board and six on the ground.

ch-aviation has reached out to Dana Air for comment.

The airline has a checkered track record, having suspended flight operations in March 2023 because its entire fleet was in maintenance. Before that, it restarted operations in November 2022 after it was grounded by the NCAA in mid-2022 and had its operating licence and air operator’s certificate (AOC) suspended for failing to comply with financial and safety requirements.