By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Within 18 months of commencing operations, Ibom Air has positioned for growth, holding firm to its three cardinal points of schedule reliability, on-time departure and excellent service.
It has within a short time also, become a model brand in the aviation industry promising to build on the successes to improve and expand.
Group Manager, Marketing and Communications of the Airline, Mrs. Aniekan Essienette told Correspondents in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Tuesday.
Essienette added that the Airline would continue to play its role as a key vehicle for the economic development and growth of Akwa Ibom State.
According to her, more than 300,000 passengers have been airlifted by Ibom Airlines Limited since its inception last year and hascontributed more than one billion Naira directly and indirectly to the economy of Akwa Ibom people through vendors and suppliers.
The 300,000 passengers Essienette explained included the COVID-19 lockdown period when there were no flights for more than four months.
“Since the 7th of June 2019 when Ibom Air commenced operations as a bold new idea with 3 Aircraft, now you can say that we are the “new kid on the block” and the whole nation has stood up and taken notice of what we have brought to the table.
“18 months down the line, Ibom Air currently boasts a fleet of five bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft (the youngest airline fleet in the country) and currently covers 5 destinations: Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Calabar and Enugu, with an unmatched record of schedule reliability, on-time departure and excellent service.
“In 2021, we shall be expanding to other routes which we would announce in due course.
“We want to be to Akwa Ibom State, what Emirates Airlines is to Dubai and what Ethiopian Airlines is to Ethiopia. I believe we can achieve this with your continued support and those of the good people of Akwa Ibom state.
“In line with this aspiration, just in 2019 alone (our first year of operation), Ibom Air’s direct and indirect impact on Akwa Ibom’s livelihood and businesses amounted to over One Billion Naira.
“This is in addition to the employment of indigenes of Akwa Ibom not just in low and entry level to senior positions, but in the very highly skilled aviation professions of Piloting, Cabin Crew and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.
“As a matter of fact, 17 young indigenous trainee maintenance engineers have qualified or are on the verge of being qualified as Bombardier CRJ 900 Aircraft Engineers.
“In 2021, we shall be expanding to other routes which we would announce in due course,” Essienette said.
She said the Airline is 100% owned by Akwa Ibom State government and currently has 200 staff including indegenes in its employ and plan to employ more as they expand.
Also responding to some questions, Director of Airline Services, Ms Amaka Echetabu said that percieved delays in take off of flights were due to factors outside their control but insisted that the company would not compromise on safety.
Echetabu said the Airline’s trusted maintenance team has continued to conduct in-house maintenance as there has been no need for outside maintenance and would continue to train indegenes too to take over the maintenance of the aircrafts.
The Director said that for now they would continue to concentrate on improving its domestic dominance while plans to go international would be strategic, and with larger aircrafts when plans are finalised.
She maintained that Ibom Air aircrafts remained the newest in the country, increasing the Airline’s competitiveness adding that premium has also been placed on sourcing materials locally.