Ibom Air, a commercial airline owned by the Akwa Ibom government, launched its maiden flight.
A handful of enthusiastic indigenes of the state, led by the deputy governor, Moses Ekpo, gathered at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo for a brief ceremony to herald the “historic” flight.
The people stood by to watch, clap, and shout happily as the flight, a Bombardier CRJ 900 series with registration number 5N-BWM, took off and hit the blue Uyo sky for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Thirty minutes after, a second flight took off for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The airline has three aircraft, and doing only two routes – Uyo-Lagos and Uyo-Abuja – for now.
“Today’s occasion is a watershed moment for us as a people,” the Akwa Ibom governor, Udom Emmanuel, said at the airport ceremony before the inaugural flight.
“Never in the history of this nation or indeed anywhere else in Africa that I can recall, has a state government gone into airline operations.
“Akwa Ibom state is, therefore, the first to achieve this, and we should all collectively give ourselves a pat on the back.”