Akwa Ibom State government has launched Ibom Air airlines, becoming the first State in Nigeria to own a commercial airline.
By the multi-million naira worth of investment, the state government aims to facilitate thousands of direct and indirect jobs, as well as enhance connectivity in the region.
Currently, two Ibom Air aircraft – CRJ 900 series with registration C-FWNL and C-FWNK – have arrived Uyo, the state capital. The third aircraft is being expected to arrive from Canada today, Friday February 22. The planes are about six years old.
Unveiling the airline, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, commended the state government for the “historic event”, describing it as a pride of all sons, daughters and well-wishers of the State.
Saraki said: “Today is to celebrate good leadership, and to say that a good thing can come out of Nigeria. Today, we celebrate the audacity of hope. Today, we celebrate a man, who has a dream for his people and does not stop until that dream is realised.”
The Senate President added that the feat showed that “Governor Emmanuel is always thinking about how to make life better for his people; bringing investment to the state, improve governance and provide leadership. I congratulate you. We are proud of you in Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) family.”
He such achievements is what they had been talking about in the last few weeks of their campaign across the country.
“That is the different, when you have a man that understands what needed to be done; when you have a man from the private sector that understand what it takes to bring in investment.”
Governor Emmanuel Udom said the airline was a monumental achievement of his administration, saying the aircraft, with only six years old and a sitting capacity of about 90 persons, constitute the newest and modern fleet of the Canadian airbus.
Udom noted that Akwa Ibom is 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 explained that the 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 said further that the State government has strived to focus development of the state economy on land, air and water, noting that so far, the state government has constructed over 1,000 kilometers of roads across the state, while plan to construct the most digital seaport, the Ibom deep seaport, is on.
“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 more, 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 II runway.
“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.
Former governor of the state and initiator of the airport project, Obong Victor Attah, lauded the governor for carrying on the project he started, adding that he was happy that the governor was running the state as a business.
Chairman of Ibom Air, Idongesit Nkanga, said with the launch of the airlines, the state governor has shocked critics with his managerial prowess.
The airline, he said will boost the realisation of the MRO facility within the region, adding that there is no stopping the visionary and industrial initiative of Governor Emmanuel.
The Technical Consultant of Ibom Air, Mfon Udom, gave credit to Governor Emmanuel for the project, which he said commenced three years ago, noting that successful airlines across the world have been run by governments.