Calls by many newspapers to sack the aviation minister is wrong. The Dana crash is a tragedy. It is a painful reminder that airline oversight and flight readiness should be a focus of the Nigerian Government.
It should come as no surprise to keen observers of the Nigerian politic that these private airlines lack the infrastructure required for effective maintenance of these airplanes. Moreover we should look at the history of the airplane to determine the root cause in the absence of the black box. The box has been shipped to the USA for analysis because Nigeria lacks the expertise and technical capacity to analyse the data
The accident occurred after the crew reported engine trouble and declared an emergency 11 nautical miles (20 km) from the airport. The MD-83 then crashed into a crowded neighbourhood near the airport, apparently landing on its tail and causing a large fire.
The crash scene reportedly became chaotic, with the sun reporting that more than 500,000 Lagos residents attempted to approach the site. Crowds attempted to bring hoses to the site while soldiers attempted to disperse onlookers with punches and whips The onlookers then threw stones at the soldiers in retaliation. Water for firefighting was scarce for several hours due to the city’s shortage of fire trucks and civilians attempted to fight the fire by hand with water from plastic buckets. Water trucks commandeered from nearby construction projects had difficulties reaching the site due to the neighbourhood’s narrow roads.
The aircraft was a twin-engined MD-83 Registered in Nigeria as 5N-RAM, it was a former Alaska Airlines aircraft (N944AS), which Alaska Airlines purchased new in 1990 and sold to Dana Air in 2009, “was bedeviled with technical problems soon after its delivery by McDonnell Douglas” to Alaska Airlines, according to the Alaska Dispatch.
The MD-80 was produced on a common line with the DC-9 with which it shares its line number sequence. However after the delivery of 976 DC-9s and 108 MD-80s, McDonnell Douglas stopped DC-9 production. Hence, commencing with the 1,085th DC-9/MD-80 delivery, an MD-82 for VIASA in December 1982, all DC-9s produced were Series 80s/MD-80s.
In addition to the Long Beach, California line, a second assembly line was set up at Shanghai, where aircraft were to be built under license.
During 1991, MD-80 production had reached a peak of 12 per month, having been running at approximately 10 per month since 1987 and was expected to continue at this rate in the near term (140 MD-80s were delivered in 1991). As a result of the decline in the air traffic and a slow market response to the MD-90, MD-80 production was reduced, and 84 aircraft were handed over in 1992. A further production rate cut saw 42 MD-80s delivered during 1993 (3.5 per month) and 22 aircraft were handed over. MD-80 production ended in 1999.