The Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, Ibom Airlines, Aniekan Essienette has disclosed that the company has contributed more than one billion naira directly and indirectly to the economy of Akwa Ibom and its citizens within the period of operation.
She made this remark while speaking with newsmen in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital yesterday.
She further explained that more than 300,000 passengers have been airlifted by Ibom Airlines Limited since its inception in 2019, adding that the figures included the COVID-19 lockdown period when there were no flights for more than four months.
According to her, the Airline would continue to play its key role as a conduit to enhance economic development and growth of the State.
“We want to be to Akwa Ibom State what Emirates Airlines is to Dubai and what Ethiopian Airlines is to Ethiopia. I believe we can achieve this with your continued support as well as those of the good people of Akwa Ibom state.
“In line with this aspiration, just in 2019 alone (our first year of operation), Ibom Air’s direct and indirect impact on livelihood of Akwa Ibom people and businesses amounted to over One Billion Naira.
” This is in addition to the employment of indigenes of Akwa Ibom not just in low and entry level to senior positions, but in the very highly skilled aviation professions of Piloting, Cabin Crew and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.
” As a matter of fact, 17 young indigenous trainee maintenance engineers have qualified or are on the verge of being qualified as Bombardier CRJ 900 Aircraft Engineers”, she said
Essienette said Ibom Air has within the short period of operation become a model brand in the aviation industry and would build on these successes to improve and expand its delivery.
“Since the 7th of June 2019 when Ibom Air commenced operations as a bold new idea with 3 Aircrafts, now you can say that we are the “new kid on the block” and the whole nation has stood up and taken notice of what we have brought to the table.
“18 months down the line, Ibom Air currently boast of a fleet of five bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft (the youngest airline fleet in the country) and currently covers 5 destinations: Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Calabar and Enugu, with an unmatched record of schedule reliability and on-time departure performance.
“In 2021, she continued’ we shall be expanding to other routes which we would announce in due course.”
She said that the Airline is hundred percent owned by Akwa Ibom State and government currently has 200 staff including indigenes on its payroll and plans to employ more as with expected expansion in operation.
Earlier, the Director of Airline Services, Ms Amaka Echetabu said that perceived delays in take off of flights were due to factors outside their control but insisted that the company would not compromise on safety.
According to her, the Airline’s trusted maintenance team has continued to conduct in-house maintenance as there has been no need for outside maintenance and would continue to train indigenes too to take over the maintenance of the aircrafts.
The Director said that for now they would continue to concentrate on improving its domestic dominance while plans to go international would be strategic, and with larger aircrafts when plans are finalized.
She maintained that Ibom Air aircrafts remain the newest in the country which increase the Airline’s competitiveness adding that premium has also been placed on sourcing materials locally.