Date Published: 12/11/09
Commencement of flight in AK Airport By Essien Ndueso
On Thursday November 26, 2009, the first commercial flight, an Arik Air Boeing 737 800 series aircraft with registration number 5N-MJC carrying 45 passengers landed in the Akwa Ibom State International Airport.
The plane which landed from Abuja by 4:15pm later took off at about 6:10pm for Lagos. Since then, regular air traffic has continued at the airport with daily flights scheduled at the airport.
With an uncommon zeal towards transforming Akwa Ibom to his credit, Chief Akpabio remains a metaphor for administrative excellence. On assumption of office in 2007, he had assured of his determination to bring an international airport to the State. The airport in Akwa Ibom which had only reached 10 percent completion and with the sudden departure of the main contractors Dyn Corps, the task of making progress at the airport became bleak. And while everyone was busy pointing accusing fingers at others, Chief Akpabio swung into action appointing Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, a former military governor of the State as the Chairman of the Airport Implementation Committee and reassigning ALCON a leading technical firm with experiences in world class airport facilities construction, as the lead contractors.
It was like the biblical ‘good thing coming out from Nazareth?’ but today the dream is fulfilled as commercial flight begins today at Ibom International Airport.
The benefits of an airport in Okobo, Akwa Ibom State is enormous and very significant in many ways. It is an avenue that will bring unimaginable development to the state in all ramifications. First it will make possible for investors to fly direct from any part of the world to key in to the enormous economic potentials of Akwa Ibom State. International businessmen who had indicated interest in investing in the state will now have an opportunity to do so through an air route that lands direct on the soil of Akwa Ibom State.
Another important point to consider as commercial flights begin is an end to the inconveniences of long tortuous journeys that air passengers from Akwa Ibom hitherto encountered in using airports in nearby States. Before the coming on board of the Chief Akpabio’s administration, the journey from Uyo to Calabar on road was a nightmare as the road was not motorable. Today, the government of Chief Godswill Akpabio has taken over and has almost completed the construction and dualisation of part of the Uyo – Calabar road. It is on record that several disappointments usually occur when passengers who were in a hurry to catch up with business schedules are left stocked in hold ups for as much as six to nine hours; and in some cases are left with no option than to return home. All that will be history as the bulk of passengers that patronize the Calabar airport who came from Akwa Ibom State will be saved the trauma of going through the deplorable road.
Today with the commencement of commercial flights from Akwa Ibom International Airport, urgent business opportunities will be met as a journey from Uyo to Okobo is less than 30 minutes.
The airport is an opportunity that will boost the economic activities at the Ibaka Industrial City that will be constructed in Mbo, a neighbouring local government to Okobo, the host community of the airport.
All these are in line with the Governor Akpabio’s repeated promise to make Akwa Ibom a destination of choice and an economic hub in the gulf of guinea.
The airport is one major step to the fulfillment of this promise as it will bring the world to Akwa Ibom and also take Akwa Ibom in a matter of hours to the world.
The advent of commercial flights at Akwa Ibom International airport it is an opportunity for Akwa Ibom people to take advantage of endless opportunities that will change their economic status for the better. An airport like a village has a vast range of business opportunities for the people.
It is worthy of note that the commercial flights into the State is a sure move that will open up every sector of the State’s economy and ensure economic stability. With every sector of the economy such as industry, commerce, Agriculture, tourism, education, health and sports, having inter-market relationship with the aviation industry, there is no doubt that Akwa Ibom will soon witness a boost in its economy.
The state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has set a standard through his avowed commitment to bringing development to the doorsteps of every Akwa Ibomite by completing all mega projects started by previous administrations in the state and initiating new ones in line with his philosophy of touching lives positively.
Notable among mega projects that the Governor is aggressively pursuing include the concentric flyovers in Uyo, the Independent Power Plant at Ikot Abasi, the Ibom Industrial City project, the Ibom Tropicana Entertainment center, the state university and and more than 600 kilometers of road network across the entire state.
As Akwa Ibom people begin to enjoy the benefits of an international airport in their land, there is need for all to join hands with Governor Akpabio to ensure accelerated development in the State.
Mr Ndueso wrote from Uyo, AKS