By Adedapo Adesanya
Air Peace Airline has announced the launch of commercial flights to Makurdi, the Benue capital.
Speaking during a brief ceremony to mark the commencement of the flights today, the chairman of the airline, Mr Allen Onyeama, noted that the commencement of flights to the capital of the Food Basket of the Nation was part of the company’s original plan to connect cities within the country.
He said the company was thrilled to be the first airliner to operate commercial flights to Makurdi as the first flight to the state by the airline company took off from Abuja and arrived Makurdi at about 9:45 a.m.
Represented by the Ground Operations Manager, Mr Adeyemi Ayodeji, the Air Peace boss said Makurdi flights would be either be from Lagos or Abuja.
“For us at Air Peace, this is a historic feat as no airline currently operates commercial flights from Lagos or Abuja into Makurdi.
“The decision to extend our wings to Makurdi was borne out of our persisting original vision to interconnect various cities across Nigeria, thereby fostering unity and promoting impactful economic relations,” he said.
“Today, as we commence flights into Makurdi from Lagos and Abuja, we are promising that this new route will be optimally serviced, and Nigerians will benefit exceedingly.
“We also pledge to work very harmoniously with all the stakeholders domiciled in the state, the aviation regulator, the airport administrator and, of course, the state government to ensure maximum success, ” he added.
He said the airline would also provide employment for Benue citizens.
In his remarks, Governor Samuel Ortom said the commencement of flights to Makurdi would boost economic activities in the state, as well as create employment for residents.
“I believe that this will ease transport challenges to the state and it will further open up the state to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“This will also boost economic activities here in Benue State and will provide an opportunity for greater impact and participation of our people here,” Mr Ortom said.
Speaking to journalists as one of the first passengers, the Minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Mr George Akume, said it was a realization of a long dream.
Mr Akume commended Governor Ortom for initiating the partnership with Air Peace and facilitating its take off, admitting that several attempts were made in the past to ensure regular flights into Makurdi but were all futile.
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