Ebonyi welcomes first flights into N36bn Airport…
Written by City Radio on April 28, 2023
Ebonyi State government yesterday welcomed two aircraft at the inaugural flight held at the President Muhammadu Buhari International Airport, Onueke.
Air Peace operated the first flights to the airport as its two Embraer 145 aircraft from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos touched down at the airport on Thursday, April 27.
Speaking at the inaugural flight operations, the Governor of the State, Dave Umahi, said that so far, the project has gulped N36 billion and that from May, the state government will provide free flights twice daily from Abuja and Lagos for the next four weeks.
The governor said that the airport would drive development and investments in the state and appealed to investors to take the opportunity of the airport to invest in the state.
He further called on the incoming government in the state to ensure good use of the facility for the people of the Ebonyi, the South East and the entire Nigerians.
“When the first aircraft landed, I remembered Ebonyi and the toils of the founding fathers. It gladdens my heart that our dream has been actualised. I am grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari, who approved N10 billion loan for the international wing of the airport to be built. Some people tried to downgrade us but we fought on to make the project a reality. When we faced the challenge of lack of funds, President Buhari wrote to the Ministry of Finance and told them to make funds available for us. We are very grateful to him. “The total amount so far that was used to build this airport is N36 billion. What is remaining is the taxiway and airfield lightening which has already been paid for. Starting from May, the Ebonyi State government would operate two flights weekly from Lagos and Abuja free of charge for four weeks as a way to encourage travel into the state. Subsequently, we would want the Federal Government to take over the airport and concession it to make it more profitable,” he said. Umahi expressed gratitude to Buhari for approving funds needed for the project and also to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, for ensuring the project got speedy approval.
“We want to thank the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who promised us in his first tenure that he will ensure that the project is a reality. We also want to thank the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu for his support and also to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefelie and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, who ensured that the funds the President approved was made available to us.