By Umoh-Obong Kingsley

It sounded like Tales by Moonlight when, in 2018, Governor Udom Emmanuel assured of his administration’s commitment towards ensuring the speedy commencement of cargo operations at the Ibom International Airport. The conceptualization of the state investing in the aviation sector dates back to 2016.

In June 2019, Akwa Ibom became, and is still the first state in Nigeria and in indeed Africa, that has gone into airline operation. The official unveiling of the first ever state-owned commercial airline in Nigeria witnessed enthusiastic indigenes of the state amidst admiration. The people stood by to watch, clap, and shout happily as the flight, a Bombardier CRJ 900 series with registration number 5N-BWM, took off by 12 p.m and hit the blue sky of Uyo for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. Thirty minutes after, a second flight took off for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

The airline commenced operations on June 7 2019 when a Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft marked Ibom Air took off from Akwa Ibom International Airport (IATA: QUO), Uyo, with government officials on board, en routing Muritala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos. Ibom Air continues to operate the lowest average fleet age amongst Nigeria’s airlines, maintaining a world-class standard of African regional airline.

While performing the official unveiling of the aircraft at the Obong Victor Attah International Airport in Uyo, the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who described it as historic and that it would boost tourism and aviation in the state, noted that Governor Emmanuel has been able to create an environment viable for development.

In line with its fleet expansion strategy, Ibom Air took delivery of the fourth aircraft, a 90 seater Bombardier CRJ900 with registration number 5N-BXP and the latest hyper technology safety device, High Efficiency Air Filter (HEAF). It arrived Lagos from Calgary, Canada on Tuesday 05 May, 2020, and was received at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo on 20th May, 2020. Bombardier CRJ900 is the latest addition to the fleet of Ibom Air, as it has warranty in the domestic aviation.

Ibom Air’s Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft comes fitted with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters – high-intensity filters that do not just filter dust, but effectively capture greater than 99% of the airborne microbes in the filtered air, including microscopic particles such as bacteria and viruses. Cabin air in HEPA equipped aircraft generally pass through the filters 20-30 times per hour, removing contaminants and greatly enhancing the quality of air in the cabin. The aircraft was ferried in during the COVID-19 pandemic period, as keeping it in Canada waiting for the Covid-19 pandemic to pass, would incur huge and unnecessary hard currency costs.

Experts have attested to the quality of Aircraft owned and services operated by Ibom Air, and in no time Ibom Air would be a reference point in the aviation industry of the West African sub region. The safety standard remains to be beaten by any other airline. With air efficiency and safety-safe-net fitted, one do not have to be afraid flying in the plane.

Akwa Ibom State government had strived to focus on development of the economy on land, air and water. The launching of Ibom Air is a monumental achievement in Akwa Ibom state and indeed Africa, and has become airline of choice for investors in the country, as it flies Uyo-Lagos-Abuja.

The advent of Ibom Air showed that Governor Udom Emmanuel has the interest of Akwa Ibom people at heart, and is working to bring investment to the state, improve governance and provide excellent leadership quality. Coming from the private sector of a business, the Governor understands what it takes to bring in investment. Millions of youths are searching for jobs, the government on its own cannot provide those jobs. It is the government that can facilitate an environment for investment that will bring hope for the people, and that is what Udom is doing.

He is creating the environment for the opportunity for people to have jobs; he is creating the environment for investment. The state government has strived to focus on the development of the state economy on land, air and water. So far, the state government has constructed over 1,000 kilometres of roads across the state while the plan to construct the most digital seaport, the Ibom deep seaport, in the state is ongoing.

Ibom Air, proud to be the airline of choice for customers in Nigeria, West Africa & beyond, is committed to safety, service excellence, hospitality & innovation. Fly Ibom Air for unparalleled customer service and memorable travel experiences.

Kingsley, a Media Consultant, writes in from Uyo



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