Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, on Friday unveiled the first of the 10 new Airbus- A-220-300 series for the state carrier, Ibom Air.
He said Ibom Air has expanded its routes to major cities in Nigeria and recently started its commercial operations in Accra, Ghana, adding that plans are afoot to expand the routes into the East, Central, and South African regions.
Speaking during the unveiling held at the Victor Attah’s International Airport, Uyo, Eno said Ibom Air has grown over four years to become the toast of air travelers across Nigeria and the most preferred airline in the country.
He said, “We are gathered here today to celebrate vision and a passion for professionalism and effective service delivery.
” It was a little over four years ago that we had gathered at this same location to witness the commencement of commercial operations for Ibom Air.
” At that time, the airline had two CRJ 900 Bombardier aircraft in its fleet. Less than a year after it started operations, three additional CRJ 900 Bombardier aircraft were added to its fleet, bringing it to five.
“A year later, the airline further expanded its fleet with the addition of two brand new A220-300 Airbus series, the first of its kind in the Nigerian aviation industry, bringing the total fleet to seven.
” In the course of this period, Ibom Air became the toast of air travelers across Nigeria and the most preferred airline in the country, illuminating and defining the Nigerian airspace with the bright colors of our dear State.
” Today, we are gathered here to welcome to the fleet. Let me use this opportunity to thank our past leaders for the various works they did to move our dear state from its humble beginning 36 years ago, at its creation to today, where we are easily ranked as a subnational with easily the best road network and other infrastructural amenities in the nation.
“Ibom Air has expanded its routes to major cities in Nigeria and recently started its commercial operations in Accra, Ghana. Plans are afoot to expand the routes into the East, Central and South African regions.”
He said the success of the airline has shocked naysayers who have dismissed the idea as wishful thinking.
‘”When this idea was first announced, the usual naysayers had dismissed it as a flash of wishful thinking. But as he always would say: the answer to doubters is success that shocks and confounds.
“Today, Ibom Air is the leading brand in the Nigerian aviation industry, a mere four years plus after it started commercial operations,” he added.
While thanking former governor, Udom Emmanuel, for his vision in conceptualising Ibom Air, the governor said his administration is committed to sustaining the giant strides that the airline has made
“My administration is dedicated to supporting the giant strides the airline has made. We have kept faith with all previous financial obligations entered into, with Airbus, by the immediate past administration, and the result of that is the event we are witnessing today. Government is a continuum.
” We, will in our way, provide the increase. Since we came on board, we have provided the funds for the training of pilots and the deepening of the already first-class Cabin services of the airline.
” We have done extensive work on the Airside perimeter fencing of the airport, and the continuous funding of the 8.5 km Airside patrol road, which is now ready for commissioning.
“We have equally continued the funding of the parallel Taxiway Rapid Exit, the Apron Construction, the International Terminal Building, the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul ( MRO) facility, the VIP Car Park, Access Road into the Terminal Building, and the underground drain alongside the CCTV Control and Command Center,” he said.