Arik Airline Nigeria Limited is to invest N30 billion in the development of Akwa Ibom International Airport, Okobo that was heralded with the first flight Thursday.
The aircraft owned by Arik Airline with registration no. 5N MJO 737 800 series aboard the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba and other top government functionaries touched down the airport at about 2.12 p.m. amidst jubilation and celebration by the excited crowd.
Senator Anietie Okon, a director in the Airline who dropped the hint at the inaugural landing of the aircraft at the airport, Okobo stated the companyâ€™s commitment to the development of the airport.
Okon commended Akpabio-led administration for being committed and undaunted to the completion of the airport despite initial constraints, noting that â€œIn the airport is seated an aircraft that would ply the state and the Gulf of Guinea as well as serve as a catalyst of social and economic developmentâ€.
Governor Godswill O. Akpabio expressed satisfaction at the fulfillment of one of his campaign electioneering promises through the establishment of the airport aimed at the economic transformation of Akwa Ibom State.
According to him, â€œIn 2007, during the governorship electioneering campaign, I made promises. One of the promises was to transform the economic condition of Akwa Ibom people. With this airport sited here, I have fulfilled the promise. And I promise to change your life and after my administration, your life cannot be the sameâ€.
The Governor was full of praises to the different stakeholders – Minister of Aviation, Nigeria Emergency Management Agency , Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) – for their co-operation and support to the successful inaugural flight, adding â€œI thank them for being committed to the safety of the airspaceâ€.
He declared â€œWhen we came on board, we declared that there would be no abandoned projects. When I took over the reins of governance, Dyncorps, the company that initially handled but later abandoned the construction of the airport told us that they stopped the work at 17 per cent level. For me, I am not interested in the percentages but in the fact that â€˜Akwa Ibom could flyâ€.