Journalism of Courage

Dana Air boasts of only 6 planes with average age of 28 years

…``airlines the world over have embarked on fleet renewal that will see aging aircraft being retired in favour of more efficient birds’’


Dana Airlines Limited, also known with the call sign name of Danaco was founded in 2007 but started operations in 2008.

The airline’s hub is at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. The carrier operates a band of the oldest aircraft in Nigeria with the oldest being a 30.4-year-old McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83) with registration number 5N-SAI. No fewer than 50 airlines across the globe have scrapped, stored and preserved the 83, 81 and 82 series, according to findings by Persecond News.

As Boeing and Airbus continue to roll out new aircraft, airlines the world over have embarked on fleet renewal that will see aging aircraft being retired in favour of more efficient birds.




1. Registration Number 5N-SRI McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83) is 30.3 years old. Data obtained by this newspaper showed the aircraft was parked recently. The plane in 2018 returning from Lagos to Port Harcourt overshot the runway ending up inside the bush with passengers struggling to disembark. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said no one sustained injury in the incident.


Dana plane inside the bush

2. Registration Number 5N-JOY McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83) is 29.8 years old.

3. Registration Number 5N-JAI McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83) is 29.9 years old. This fleet was parked recently.

4. Registration Number 5N-DEV McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (DC-9-83) delivered in May 2012 is 29.6 years old.

5. Registration Number 5N-BKI McDonnell Douglas MD-82 (DC-9-82) is 24.6 years old.

6. Registration Number 5N-DNB Boeing 737-3H4 (WL) delivered in August 2019 is 23.6 years old.

7. Registration Number 5N-DNA Boeing 737-3H4 (WL) delivered in July 2019 is 23.5 years old.

On 3 June 2012, a Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83 operating as Flight 992 crashed into a two-story building at Iju Railway, Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos. All 153 people on the aircraft were killed. Following the crash, all flights by Dana Air were halted temporarily by the Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

On 7 February 2018, a Dana Air flight landed in Abuja and was taxiing on the runway when one of the emergency exit doors fell off. No casualties resulted from the incident. Passengers claimed that the door rattled throughout the flight.

There is conflicting information about the fleet size of this airline as some aircrafts are listed as stored or parked.

When an aircraft is parked or stored, it is safe to say that the plane is no longer in operation and has been placed by the owner, airline or lessor into a manufacturer approved storage regime to preserve maintenance and asset value.

An Old Airplane is Not an Unsafe One

The age of an aircraft can matter less to an investigation and accidents than the media portrays, according to aviation experts. In the end, it often depends on the maintenance that is performed on the aircraft rather than the aircraft’s age.

The safety of the aircraft is often dependent on the maintenance practices of the operator and their safety culture.


Editor’s Note

Only aircraft that are active with this airline are included in this report, they do not include all outstanding orders as reported by aircraft manufacturers.

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