Akwa Ibom Airline takes off amidst celebrationFriday, June 7th, 2019 | News
The deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Ekpo was among government officials and some stakeholders who witnessed the long awaited commencement of operations of Ibom Air, the first state-owned commercial airline in Nigeria.
The first flight, which had among its passengers, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Charles Udoh, the Chairman of the State Technical Committee on Foreign Direct Investments, Mr Gabriel Ukpeh, as well as former Director General of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria(SON) General Anthony Etukudo(rtd), took off at 12pm from the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo.
The flight, a Bombardier CRJ 900 series with registration number 5N-BWM was scheduled for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos while the second flight, which left thirty minutes later, was earmarked for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Earlier while speaking during the ceremony, the State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel maintained that it was unprecedented that a State Government in Nigeria or anywhere else in Africa has gone into airline operations adding that, “Akwa Ibom State is therefore, the first to achieve this, and we should all collectively give ourselves a pat on the back.”
The Governor, whose message was delivered by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, said “the launch of this maiden flight by Ibom Air is a testament to the vision of rapid industrialization based on the three gateways: Land, Sea and Air that I have been emphasizing.
“The massive and interlocking network of roads, the Ibom Deep Seaport project also currently on-going and now, the launch of Ibom Air commercial airline operations will open our State to endless opportunities.
The Governor maintained, “that investors will continue to flock into our State, given the ease of traveling the launch of this airline will engender; the peace we enjoy and the hospitality of our people.”
The Governor while acknowledging the role played by the immediate past Commissioner for Special Duties and Aviation Development, Akan Okon, the Management of Ibom Air led by Captain Mfon Udom, also thanked the regulatory agencies for assisting in the achievement of the vision.
He appealed to the opposition members to see beyond the prism of politics as the success of Ibom Air is counted as a huge achievement for all Akwa Ibom people.
“When we board these aircrafts to either Lagos or Abuja and back to Uyo, the Cabin Crew will not ask you whether you are a PDP or APC card –carrying member, rather you will be greeted and be told “welcome on board” as a proud son or daughter of Akwa Ibom State.
“Sponsoring articles in the newspapers aimed at dismissing the great works we have done such as this, or telling the world, Ibom Air will never become a reality is highly unfortunate and sad. We are better than this,” he added.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Ibom Air Captain Mfon Udom, said Ibom Air was structured to make air travelling easier for Akwa Ibom people as the airline will fly promptly and more frequently between Uyo and Lagos as well as to Abuja.
On his part, the Chairman of Ibom Air Management Board and Chairman of Ibom Airport Development Company, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga said the commencement of operations has ended the days when a businessman would spend three days in a trip that would have lasted a day.
He saluted the Governor for the step of faith in investing in the aviation industry, adding that with the launching of the airline, history has been recorded in Nigeria.
Most of the passengers on the inaugural flight thanked Governor Emmanuel for the innovation, adding that what was more like a mirage, has now been seen with all.
The secretary to the State Government Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, immediate past members of the state executive council, permanent secretaries and other government officials graced the occasion.
Akwa Ibom State Government House
7th June, 2019