Akwa Ibom State Government said on Thursday that it had acquired three aircraft to its fleets of Ibom Airline Company.
The State Commissioner for Special Duties and Aviation Development, Mr Akan Okon, who disclosed this at the New Year chat with newsmen in Uyo, said the airline would be run as a limited liability company.
According to him, the airline has the capacity to generate 400 direct and indirect jobs for the teaming unemployed youth in the state.
“Ibom Air has come to stay. I am happy to tell you that we have completed recruitment with a good number of Akwa Ibom children. The chief pilot is from Akwa Ibom.
“Three aircraft are secure and are ready for commencement of operation. It is completely owned and operated by the Akwa Ibom State Government and it will provide 400 direct and indirect jobs,” Okon added.
Okon pointed out that though the airline was exclusively owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government, its management and operations would completely align professionally with world best practices.
He said members of staff of the new airline, who were recruited strictly on merit, were currently undergoing training in their various areas of specialities and added that they were getting set to start operations as soon as all formalities were concluded.
Okon lauded the State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, for the successes so far recorded and the Director of Air Worthiness at the Nigerian Aviation Authority, Ita Awak.
He specifically thanked Awak, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, for his role in ensuring ease of operations and the actualisation of the purpose for which Ibom Airport was established.
“Some Akwa Ibom sons in positions of authority have been supportive; prominent among them is the Director of Air Worthiness, Ita Awak, who has worked so hard to ensure that the MRO becomes a reality,” Okon said.
The commissioner explained that the heavy traffic in Akwa Ibom airport had made it imperative for the state government to join the few airlines operating therein, saying that Ibom Airline would at the moment operate within Uyo-Lagos-Abuja routes.
He stated that the current administration was working to improve the standard of the airport with the ongoing second runway, new taxiway, a power sub-station, new commercial building and other unique features.
He explained that such an improvement made it possible for the landing of over 20 aircraft in the President’s entourage during the flag-off of the APC presidential campaign for the South-South region in Akwa Ibom.