Joe Effiong, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government-owned Ibom Air has been scheduled to commence full commercial operations on Friday June 7, 2019.
The Ibom Air which was launched on February 20, 2019, at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, by the outgoing Senate President, Dr Buloka Saraki, has three aircrafts in its fleet and is said to be the first commercial airline ever to be owned and operated by a state government in Nigeria.
A press release announcing the commencement of flight operation by the airline, signed by Ekerete Udoh, the Chief Press Secretary, and Senior Special Assistant to the Gov. Udom Emmanuel, said the airline represents one of the signature projects of governor’s first term.
“Having fulfilled all the regulatory conditions and requirements, the airline was certified fit to commence commercial operations, leading to the maiden flight billed for tomorrow, June 7, 2019. It will maintain regular daily flights to both Lagos (MMA2) and Abuja respectively. The aircrafts in its fleet (Bombardier CRJ 900) have the distinction of being relatively new, all three, under 10 years old.
“The commencement of the commercial operations by Ibom Air has been celebrated by Akwa Ibomites and other Nigerians as a testament to the visionary leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, who seems determined to break conventional wisdom concerning things long thought to be impossible to achieve,” the statement said.
It concluded that “with this development, Governor Emmanuel’s avowed determination to open the three gateways to industrialisation -land, sea and air appears to be on course.”
When contacted, the Director, Air Worthiness Standard in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Ita Awak, confirmed that the airline had fulfilled all the requirements spelt out by the authority and was thus certified fit to fly.
“They have cleared all the hurdles and the hurdles were rigorous enough. In all fairness to them, they have cleared everything; so they are now officially authorised to operate.
“I have certified that the aircrafts are airworthy and they have met all the regulatory standards of the authority. It is just today that the director-general signed and gave them their AOT. So Akwa Ibom Air is genuine and an authorised operator,’ Awak said.