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AKSG disburses palliatives to Ibom Air – Info Boss

In line with the global trend of governments providing an enabling environment for the recommencement of air travels, the Akwa Ibom state government has approved and disbursed palliatives to the owned airline, Ibom Air.

According to the Commissioner for Information, Sir Charles Udoh, providing financial assistance to the airline became necessary given that airline operations in Nigeria have been grounded for over three months, occasioning a revenue loss in the region of N4bn by Ibom Air.

Sir Udoh, while speaking to the crew of Update Akwa Ibom, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected global aviation industry, resulting in many airlines; globally, requiring a financial life-line to get back to business. The palliative is to enable the airline make necessary preparations for the resumption of fight operations as soon as the Nigerian airspace is open for flight operations.

Justifying the action of the state government, the Information Commissioner added that American Airline secured $5.8 billion support, Delta Airline $5.4 billion and Air France-KLM $12billion from their respective governments.

Recall that Ibom Air in a little over one year of operations has raised the bar in aviation travel experience in Nigeria with its one time; every time departure protocol. Ibom Air continues to operate the lowest average fleet age amongst Nigeria’s airlines, a fleet strategy which is in line with the company’s vision to be a world-class African regional airline.

A key benefit of Ibom Air’s very modern fleet of Bombardier CRJ 900 aircrafts is that they all come fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. HEPA filters are high-intensity filters that do not just filter dust, but effectively capture greater than 99% of the airborne microbes in the filtered air, including microscopic particles such as bacteria and viruses.

Cabin air in HEPA equipped aircraft generally pass through the filters 20-30 times per hour, removing contaminants and greatly enhancing the quality of air in the cabin.

Therefore, when the suspension on domestic flight is lifted, Ibom Air will offer one of the safest, if not safest domestic travel option during COVID19 pandemic in addition to other personal and respiratory hygiene guidelines already prescribed globally.

Gov. Emmanuel Unveils New Aircraft from Ibom Air

The Akwa Ibom State aviation industry has expanded with the acquisition of additional Aircraft which steps the number to four in it fleet .

The latest of the Aircraft is a 90 seater, Bombardier CRJ900, registration number 5N-BXP with the latest hyper technology safety device ; High Efficiency Air Filter (HEAF)

Receiving the Aircraft at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo , the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel said the aeroplane  which has warranty in the domestic aviation is the latest addition to the fleet of Ibom Air.

“this is the latest in this fleet and when you have an airplane that is still within warranty in the domestic aviation, you can bit your chest that have quality product and that safety is assured”, he explained.

Governor Emmanuel said that conceptualisation of the state investing in the aviation sector date back to 2016, adding that experts have attested to the quality of Aircraft owned and services operated by Ibom Air.

“….the air efficiency is super so nothing to fear and also our safety standard remains to be beaten by any other airline. I have the assurance of the management of the business that they will maintain instead of going down they will improve as there is room for improvement.”

According to him, ” one do not have to be afraid flying in the plane because it is fitted with air efficiency including safety-safe-net” and expressed optimism that in no time Ibom Air would be a reference point in the aviation industry of the West African sub region .

Earlier, the Chairman, Ibom Air Limited, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga Rtd, Asaid that the Aircraft was expected in the state last  December but was delayed because of clearing issues and thanked God for the arrival of the Aircraft.

While explaining that ” the plane is backed with modern facilities including hyper technology that is against bacteria and viruses, coronavirus inclusive”,  he commended the vision of the state administration to venture into the aviation sector, describing the investment as profitable.

Also speaking , the Chief Executive Officer, Ibom Air, Capt. Mfon Udom, said that it is a thing of joy to see the industry expanding and assured of quality service delivery to the teaming passengers on resumption of flight operations.

Highpoint of the event was unveiling of the Aircraft by Governor Udom Emmanuel, assisted by his Deputy Mr Moses Ekpo, Prelate Sunday Mbang and Bishop Uma Ukpai who prayed for the success of the industry.

Akwa Ibom Airline takes off amidst celebration

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.

Press Corps
Akwa Ibom State Government House
7th June, 2019