Aviation

Despite no flight in sight, Obiano inaugurates Anambra Int’l Airport, explains why no aircraft landed

Access Bank
Despite the disappointment of not even a single flight landing or taking off from the new Anambra State International Passenger and Cargo Airport, Umueri, the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, yesterday, Saturday, October 30, 2021, commissioned it amidst pomp and pageantry.

Contrary to expectations and promises by the State Government, there were no flights as a result of the refusal of the aviation regulatory authority, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to approve the take-off of two commercial flights that were scheduled to land at the airport from Abuja and Lagos.

News Express gathered that the action by the NCAA was not to slight the governor, but because the airport still lacked certain basic touches that it required for take off of operations.

There were rumours  that the commissioning of the project had been called off by the NCAA, as allegedly engineered by the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Andy Uba, because of fear that the commissioning of the airport may drive votes for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and its candidate, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, in the November 6 ballot. Uba has since dismissed the claims.

Obiano in his address said that the airport has been certified and has met all needs for commercial purposes.

He said: “This airport has been certified and has met all needs for commercial purposes. Unfortunately, the flights that were fully booked for today, both from Abuja and Lagos could not come because the regulatory authorities said the commercial airlines that will operate here will need to have counters here before operations will start.

“NCAA has before now approved the landing of seven planes here. We need a man whose vision is greatly acclaimed to take over the state and be able to steer the ship, and that man is Soludo. Our state is on the runway and we need a competent hand to pilot it, and with Soludo in the cockpit, our state is in safe hands.

“The airlines that will operate in this airport include: Air Peace, Ibom Air, Dana Air, United Nigeria Air and Anab Jets. They will have to set up their counter before flights will commence.

“The dreams we have nurtured for 30 years has come true today. We fought many battles to be here today, including COVID lockdowns. I have been assured by aviation experts that this is going to be the most viable airport in the Nigeria.

While thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the Airport, the governor also hailed Sidika and Nuhu of NCAA for the oversight activities they did at the airport.

In his speech, the former APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, alluded to some sabotage in the landing of the already booked commercial flights.

“Tickets had also been sold out since three days ago. If there are people who think they will loose election if planes land here today, then they should know that whether plane lands or not, they have already lost the election. It shall be well with Anambra, let no one toy with our destiny. The best thing we can do for ourselves is for Soludo to succeed Obiano.

“We’re happy you (Obiano) never lowered the standard of APGA. You started well and have continued from where Obi stopped. You have served very well and the people are seeing what you are doing. Today’s commisioning of the airport is yet another of your dreams and you have brought it to fruition.

“In 1982 we tried it at Oba and it failed. The land had been taken over by erosion now. Obi wanted to do it (airport), he acquired this land and paid some compensation, and you came and paid in full the compensation and also went on to construct the airport.

“The two governors we have given you so far in APGA are the best. Soludo is coming and he is coming with his experience. I have no doubt that Soludo will win. It will be unfair for Anambra people not to vote APGA. This is the party that has never shied away from development of Anambra,” Umeh added.

In his speech, the son of late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, Emeka Ojukwu jnr, hailed Obiano for achieving such great height in the provision of democracy dividend, describing APGA as a party with good antecedents and tall dreams for the state.

News Express
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