The Akwa Ibom state’s Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Akan Okon, says the newly inaugurated Ibom Airline with three aircraft, will boost Akwa Ibom’s economy when it commences full operation.
Okon said this when he conducted journalists around Ibom Airport, to inspect the aircraft in Uyo, the state capital.
He said that the aircraft would be professionally managed to ensure profitability and for it to play a key role in the economic development of Akwa Ibom, Southern Nigeria.
He said that the Ibom Air was expected to grow its fleet to 10 aircraft by 2021.
According to him, the airline will create not less than 400 jobs for the teeming Akwa Ibom youth, within the first one year of operation.
The commissioner disclosed that flight operations were expected to commence as soon as the regulatory agencies give the approval.
“When you operate a new airline, it is expected that you will do what is called patrol flight on the routes and you are going to fly. Once that is done, they will sign off for the airline to commence operations,’’ Okon said.
He debunked the fears that as a state-owned company, the airline would not be capable of making good return on investment.
Okon discountenanced these fears, adding that with the commitment of the state government to accountability and good governance, the airline would enhance the state’s economy.
According to him, the airline would draw its bulk of passengers from the Southern and South-Eastern regions of the country.
He said that business travellers from the South-East would prefer to make use of the airport due to the proximity to their business locations made possible by the good road network between Akwa Ibom and its neighbouring states:
“Arochukwu (in Abia State) to Uyo is only one and a half hours, while the journey to Port Harcourt takes more than three hours, so people there and environs will prefer to pass through the Victor Attah International airport in Uyo.’’
He disclosed that the recruitment process for hiring workers had been done through the proper channels as required, advising that youths with required skills and potentials in the industry had been given consideration.
Amaka E. Nliam