By John Ikani
Akwa Ibom State Government on Tuesday took delivery of two new A320-200 aircraft in preparation for the commencement of regional flight operations.
While receiving the ‘huge white birds’ at the Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo, Governor Udom Emmanuel announced that Ibom Air was now set to commence flight operations to countries within the West African region.
Describing the acquisition of the new Airbuses as a timely and appropriate response to the business environment, given the anticipated demands of the coming season, the governor attributed his administration’s achievements in the aviation industry and other areas of development to the support of God Almighty, coupled with his team’s capacity to think, creativity and ideas.
“Today, we are receiving into our fleet, brand new huge white birds decorated with the name Ibom Air.
“We respond to the business environment we are operating and as we respond we are bound to succeed,” the Governor said.
On the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility at the Victor Attah International Airport, the governor said, it will serve as a cash cow for Akwa Ibom State overtime, as it will start generating hard currency from January 2023. He added that Airbus is currently negotiating for lease of the facility to take care of its regional flights.
“This MRO you’re seeing here can take two Boeing 747-800 series aircraft and eight CRJs at the same time.
“We are training our youths on aviation development, and as I am talking to you right now, about 40 of our youths are training with Air France. 20 Aircraft Engineers and 20 Pilots are undertaking training on A320 airbus and other series,” he hinted.
Governor Udom thanked the Chief Executive Officer of Ibom Air, Capt. Mfon Udom, for supporting his vision of establishing an airline for the state, and reasoned that the appreciable level of foreign exchange from the investment would be used for further development of the state.
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, who was the special guest at the event, applauded Mr Emmanuel for his significant strides in the aviation sector.
Mr Obaseki said Akwa Ibom is a flagship state in the country for its efforts at investing and expanding the aviation sector.
“Ibom Air is always fully booked. Let me thank you on behalf of Nigerians,” Mr Obaseki said.