The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has commended Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, for creating an environment conducive to development and progress.
Speaking on Tuesday while unveiling two aircrafts to launch the Ibom Air, a new aviation enterprise of Akwa Ibom State government at the Victor Attah International Airport, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the airline was a monumental achievement in the state which can only be brought about by the visionary leadership of the governor.
He said: “Today, we celebrate leadership, we celebrate the good things that can come out of Nigeria, we celebrate the audacity of hope. The governor has created an environment for people to have jobs. We are proud of you in the PDP family that you are one of us.”
On his part, Gov. Emmanuel said the aircrafts, C-FWNK were only six years old with a sitting capacity of about 90 persons and constituted the newest and modern fleet of the Canadian Airbus.
While noting that Akwa Ibom is the only state in the country to run a state-owned airport and an airline, the governor stressed that government would run the Ibom Air as a business by operating routes that would give preference to Akwa Ibom people. He said that the government would soon launch one of the best terminal buildings in this country.
According to him, the government has strived to focus development of the economy on land, air, and water while another aircraft would arrive on Friday in addition to the already unveiled two aircrafts, even as there are plans for the Ibom deep seaport to commence operations before the expiration of his second term in 2023.
“The launching of Ibom Air is a monumental achievement in Akwa Ibom State and indeed Africa. The journey to achieve Ibom airline started in 2016 and today, it is a reality.
“If we were to search the minds of people, this day would have been frustrated but we give glory to God for making this day a reality.
“I want to charge my people that we can achieve a lot if we come together. This is the only state across the country that runs and operates an international airport. We are the only state that runs a Category Two runway.
“I want to reassure the former governor, Obong Victor Attah, that very soon, the MRO will be a place that will maintain fleets of aircrafts across the country.
We are running Ibom Air as a business, paying particular attention to Akwa Ibom people,” he said.
The former governor of the state and initiator of the airport project, Obong Victor Attah, commended the governor for carrying on the project he started, adding that he was happy that the governor was running the state like a business.
“I thank God that we have Governor Udom Emmanuel who has deemed it necessary to carry on the project we started years ago. I was accused of running the government like a business but I am happy that Udom Emmanuel is running the government like a business. Today we have in front of us, the beginning of something that will bring economic development to the state,” he said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Ibom Air, Idongesit Nkanga, said with the launch of the aircrafts, the state governor has shocked critics with his managerial prowess.
Nkanga stated that the airline would boost the realisation of the MRO facility within the region, adding that there was no stopping the visionary and industrial initiative of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
The Technical Consultant of Ibom Air, Mfon Udom, gave credit to the governor for the project which he said commenced three years ago, noting that successful airlines across the world have been run by governments
He said: “The project commenced about three years ago and has been made possible by the governor. The governor came up with the drive and we carried it out. Ibom Air is one of the vehicles to drive Akwa Ibom and the state will benefit immensely from this.
“One airplane will arrive on Friday, one in August, three will join in 2020 and three others in 2021. The plan is for Ibom Air to be a regional air. Ibom Air will fly three frequencies a day from Uyo to Lagos, morning, afternoon, evening.
“The policy of Ibom Air is that Ibom Air will fly when our customers want to fly and not when it wants to fly. All successful airlines in the world are government owned; British Airways is still supported by the government.
The government has taken the right steps. Ibom Air will employ 300 people but 3,000 people will be involved in Ibom Air at one time or the other; excellent managers have been selected,” he said.
with The Sun Newspapers