Ibom Air has commenced daily scheduled flights to Port Harcourt and would add more routes before the end of the year as part of its ongoing expansion program
The airline deployed its newly purchased Airbus A220-300 for the inaugural flight to Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, which took place on Monday, July 5, bringing to six the total number of destinations it covers in the country, in addition to Uyo, Lagos, Abuja, Calabar and Enugu.
Ibom Air touched down at Omagwa at 11:10 am and was welcomed by the water cannon salute of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) fire service.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the airline, Mr George Uriesi, said their aim is to be able to offer the promise of schedule reliability, on-time departures, and excellent service to a wider pool of domestic travellers across the country.
He also said the deployment of the A220-300 for Port Harcourt is apt because the state has the capacity and that the flight was 90% load capacity and so is the return flight.
On planned routes before the year’s end, Mr Uriesi said that the airline was keenly looking at one of its two destinations being a Northern city but stated that that would benefit determined by the numbers.
‘Port Harcourt has the capacity we believe, first flight it was about 90% capacity and the return flight is the same thing. We expected that Port Harcourt would provide the kind of load factor to justify the use of this aircraft type and we need it to create more capacity for port Harcourt passengers.
‘We have four or five targets now but the decision on where we go is always based on numbers so it is very likely that one of the destinations would be a northern one.
‘We want to take this opportunity to assure our passengers that safety and customer satisfaction will remain at the centre of Ibom Air’s operations, and we will continue to work hard to meet and exceed your expectations so that you continue to see us as your airline of the first choice,” he said.
Rivers State government commended the entry of Ibom Air into the state and says the move will increase business activities and by extension the economy of the state.
Governor of Rivers State, Nyeesom Wike who was represented by Commissioner of Transportation, Some Ginah, said the aircraft is apt as flights to and from the garden state are usually fully booked.
‘Ibom Air will actually increase commercial activities in Rivers State because it is going to make the business economy thrive. Most times when you get to the airport other airlines are not available, but with Boom Air coming to Rivers you know you have an alternative.
‘For now, they are starting with one flight daily but I am sure by the time they have regular flights it will increase. Port Harcourt is a business hub and I want to assure Ibom Air we have enough passengers for them to do business in Port Harcourt. It is a welcome development, it is going to boost the economy of the state because more people will come to Rivers and this will ease transportation,’ he said.
Representatives of the Department of State Security, executive members of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) and National Association of Tour Operators (NATOP), Organiser AKWAABA Travel Market and Publisher ATQ Mr Ikechi Uko, among other dignitaries were in attendance.