By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State Government on Wednesday unveiled two new aircraft to boost operations at the Victor Attah International Airport as well as jump start socio-economic development in the state.
Speaking at the launching of the aircraft at the airport in Uyo, Governor Udom Emmanuel said the aircraft (C-FWNK) is only six months old with a seating capacity of between 85 – 90 passengers and constitute the modern fleet of the Canadian Airbus.
He said the airline is a major achievement of his administration in the state, according 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 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 stated that government has strived to focus development of the economy on land, air and water, noting that so far, the state government has constructed over 1,000 kilometers of roads across the state.
According to him, one other aircraft will arrive on Friday in addition to the already unveiled two aircrafts. He further said plans for the Ibom deep seaport will soon commence operations before the expiration of his second term in 2023.
“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.
“If we were to search the minds of people, this day would have been frustrated but we give glory to God for making this day 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 Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the airport will be a place that will maintain fleets of aircrafts across the country.
We are running Ibom Air as a business, paying particular attention to Akwa Ibom people,” he said.
Bukola Saraki, the Senate President who unveiled the aircrafts commended the leadership qualities of Governor Emmanuel, 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.
Also speaking, Chairman, Ibom Air, Idongesit Nkanga, said with the launch of the aircrafts, the state governor has shocked critics with his managerial prowess.
He stated that the airline will boost the realisation of the MRO facility within the region, adding that there is no stopping the visionary and industrial initiative of governor Udom Emmanuel.
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 have been run by governments
He revealed that the third aircraft will arrive the state on Friday, another one in August, three others in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and that successful airlines have
He said, “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 is 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 mangers have been selected,” he said.