Governor Udom Emmanuel has officially launched Akwa Ibom State owned airline, Ibom Air today, with 2 aircraft arriving Uyo for commencement of operations.
Attended by Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and other top government functionaries, the event is currently holding at Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo.
Speaking at the Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo while taking delivery of the aircrafts, Governor Udom Emmanuel said the airline was a monumental achievement in the state.
He said the aircraft; C-FWNK was just six years old with a sitting capacity of about 90 persons and constitutes the newest and modern fleet of the Canadian airbus.
He noted that Akwa Ibom was the only state in the country to run a state-owned airport and run an airline, adding that the government is running Ibom Air as a business.
The governor said that Ibom airline will operate routes that would give preference to Akwa Ibom people, and that the government would soon launch one of the best terminal buildings in this country.
He added that one other aircraft will arrive on Friday in addition to the already unveiled two aircraft. He further said plans for the Ibom deep seaport will soon commence operations before the expiration of his second term in 2023.
His words, “The launching of Ibom Air is a monumental achievement in Akwa Ibom state and indeed Africa. The journey to achieve Ibom airline started in 2016 and today, it is a reality.
“I want to charge my people that we can achieve a lot if we come together. This is the only state across the country that runs and operates an international airport. We are the only state that runs a category two run way.
“I want to reassure the former governor, Obong Victor Attah that very soon the MRO will be a place that will maintain fleets of aircraft across the country.
We are running Ibom Air as a business, paying particular attention to Akwa Ibom people,” he said.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who unveiled the aircraft, commended the leadership qualities of the state governor, noting that he has been able to create an environment viable for development.
He said, “Today, we celebrate leadership, we celebrate the good things that can come out of Nigeria, we celebrate the audacity of hope. The governor has created an environment for people to have jobs. We are proud of you in the PDP family that you are one of us”.
Former governor of the state and initiator of the airport project, Obong Victor Attah commended the governor for carrying on the project he started, adding that he was happy that the governor was running the state as a business.
“I thank God that we have Governor Udom Emmanuel who has deemed it necessary to carry on the project we started years ago. I was accused of running the government as a business but I am happy that Udom Emmanuel is running the government as a business. Today we have in front of us the beginning of something that will bring economic development to the state,” he said.
The Technical Consultant of Ibom Air, Mfon Udom commended the governor for the project which he said commenced three years ago, noting that successful airlines across the world were being run by governments.
According to him, “The project commenced about three years ago and has been made possible by the governor. The governor came up with the drive and we carried it out. Ibom air is one of the vehicles to drive Akwa Ibom and the state will benefit immensely from this.
“One airplane will arrive on Friday, one in August, three will join in 2020 and three others in 2021. The plan is for Ibom air to be a regional air. Ibom air will fly three frequencies a day from Uyo to Lagos, morning, afternoon, evening.
“The policy of Ibom Air is that Ibom Air will fly when our customers want to fly and not when it wants to fly. All successful airlines in the world are government owned; British airways is still supported by government.
“The government has taken the right steps. Ibom air will employ 300 people but 3,000 people will be involved in Ibom Air at one time or the other, excellent managers have been selected.”