The long-awaited Bayelsa State International Cargo Airport is ready, the Managing Director, Bayelsa Airlines, Capt. Henry Ungbuku, has said.
Ungbuku, who is also the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Aviation, stated this on Wednesday during the visit to the airport in Amassoma by an aviation ground handling service provider, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited.
The airport, whose inauguration on August 27, 2018 was put on hold because Governor Dickson was bereaved, losing his mother recently in the United States of America.
The managing director said, “We are ready. Everything that needs to be put in place has been done. We have applied to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for approval. We have got to the final stage. After the test flight, Governor Seriake Dickson will decide the day of inauguration. That is where we are now.”
He assured the people of the state that very soon the Internally Generated Revenue received from oil and gas would be dwarfed by returns from the airport investment.
“That is why we are bringing in the best company in terms of export. We are talking about a lot of money, not from passengers, but from cargo. This will make Bayelsa viable. We are ready,” he said.
A former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, SAHCOL, now a director on the board, Dr Olu Owolabi, in an interview with journalists in Ammasoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government, expressed satisfaction with the facilities at the airport, noting that SAHCOL was ready to partner the Bayelsa government.
Describing the facility as ‘marvellous’, he said that the airport was a 30-40 year investment which would continue to generate income and create thousands of jobs for the people of Bayelsa State.
Owolabi said, “On behalf of SACHOL, our team is here to see what is going on, we should commend the governor. This is what people will enjoy for the next 20 to 40 years and above. It is a massive set-up.
“The governor will do his best but there is still more to do to implement his dream. It is a good dream and I’m very impressed. Don’t forget that we have the best warehouse in Africa.”
“Everybody is gearing up now for export; food export, crops and every other thing. And I think he (Dickson) has started well. For the people of Bayelsa, you can imagine after the whole thing has been completed, how many Bayelsans will be employed here.”
He said he was in the state to assess the facility and locate where the cargo warehouse will be situated.
He added, “The cargo warehouse itself is a village on its own. Go to Dubai, London, all the places and you ask for the cargo building, it is a village on its own just like Lagos. It is a village; and then you have the passenger terminal; you have the international terminal coming up. So, it’s a good dream.”
The Director-General, Bayelsa Investment and Promotion Agency, Patience Ranami-Abah, urged investors to take advantage of the airport facility.
She said, “This airport holds tremendous opportunities. This is not just about cargo; there will be airplane hangars, maintenance, supply opportunities, logistics, retail and even hotel facilities around here.
“This encompasses 1,400 hectares which will comprise the airport, eco-industrial city and power hub. It will also boost the industrialisation of not just Bayelsa, but serve as a link between the entire South-South and the South-East.
“Goods will now be easily evacuated because of their sensitive nature. And this is one of the reasons the SAHCOL team is here.”