We reported earlier that the Imo state government recently launched an airline which is operated by Dana Air. This invariably makes it the first state in Nigeria to own an airline.
New reports by Sahara Reporters suggests that Governor Okorocha might have lied about Imo state government buying the flight it just launched as ‘Imo Air’
According to them:
It has been revealed that the Governor of Imo State, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, lied about the ownership of MD83 aircraft, operated by Dana Air to the indigenes of the state.
Okorocha at the Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri on Tuesday afternoon, had claimed that “Imo Air,” a supposed new airline in the Nigerian aviation industry was the property of the State Government.
The aircraft, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 with the registration number 5N-SRI, Okorocha claimed was recently acquired by the State Government to provide air services to the indigenes of the state.
Okorocha in his speech at the airport said that the aircraft was one of the five airplanes the State Government recently acquired, adding that four others would be delivered to the state before the end of 2018.
He added: “This is the first leg and a pilot project of Imo Air. We hope that in the future this project would blow into a big full-scale airline.
We are not registered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA). So, we are to collaborate with Dana Air.
“We have five of these aircraft, and this is the first one that we have just acquired. We hope to go to a full blown carrier by 2018. We have a partnership agreement with Dana, which spans about 10 years. We only gave them this aircraft for them to manage it for us because they are professional in the Nigerian aviation industry.
“Already, about 200 of our indigenes have applied to work in the new airline and will to employ them in the airline. Also, there is 10 percent discount for all Imo Indigenes who fly with the airline.”
But, an investigation by SaharaReporters indicated that the aircraft is actually one of the six airplanes in the fleet of Dana Air and was delivered to the airline on August 4, 2008, from the United States.
The investigation also showed that the aircraft with the serial number 53020/1789 was first flown in the United States.
SaharaReporters can reveal authoritatively that the aircraft was manufactured in November 1990 with the configuration F12Y128 and first operated by Alaska Airlines. The aircraft was delivered to Alaska Airlines on December 7, 1990, barely a month after leaving the factory.
The aircraft was later reconfigured as C12Y128 when it was delivered to Dana Air in August 2008. The airplane is 26.3 years old and has the engine number 2x PW JT8D-219 on manufacture.
However, the investigation also revealed that Dana Air leased the aircraft from WFBN Wells Fargo Bank Northwest on May 2007, but delivered to it in August 2008 after acquiring the Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
On its way to be delivered to Dana Air, the aircraft was ferried through MIA-MAD-ALG-LOS. Also, the aircraft is still the property of Dana Air.
Besides, a source close to the airline confided in our correspondent that the state government has approached the carrier for a strategic partnership, but appealed to it not to tell the public about the true ownership of the aircraft.