Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has concluded plans to have a test flight for its Cargo Airport scheduled for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari next month.
The government explained that the multi-billion naira international airport is one of the legacy projects that will change the economic fortunes of the state and bring about prosperity for the people.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who stated this in an interview after an inspection of the airport facility, said the construction of the airport from the scratch by the Seriake Dickson administration is a testimony that the government will open up the state to investors around the world.
Iworiso-Markson said the airport will create massive job opportunities for Bayelsans and will be a leading investment destination as well as a hub for business when it becomes fully operational.
“There will be more business opportunities, more investment opportunities and more revenue. It is indeed, a dream come through for us as a government. We are so excited about this project because of the massive benefits the state and our people will derive from it.
“The airport is a testament of the commitment and dedication of the restoration government of the governor to open up this state and show to the world our huge potential.
“This is the heart of the Niger Delta, this is the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation and this airport will give us a new narrative. I want our people to know that this is not politics, it is development, and we have often said we don’t play politics with development.
“This airport will be used by both People’s Democratic Party and All Progressives Congress members, so nobody should politicise this project,’’ he said.
The Bayelsa government spokesman said the airport is fully funded by the state after the Federal Government pulled out from an earlier agreement which would have seen it provide counterpart funds for the construction of the terminal building, control tower, hangar and fire bay.
He thanked Dickson for his vision and foresight, noting that it takes only a serious leader like him to carry out an ambitious project like the airport even in a recession.
On his part, Managing Director of Bayelsa Airline, Henry Ungbuku, said with a 3.5 kilometre runway which is the longest in the whole of West Africa, it is capable of receiving the biggest aircraft.
He disclosed that with some of the best and latest security equipment that have been installed, the Bayelsa International Airport will be one of the safest airports in Nigeria.
Ungbuku said test flight operations will commence on August 20 ahead of the commissioning, billed for August 27.