By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
Arik Air has inaugurated flights to Bauchi in the north-eastern part of Nigeria with the state Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, describing the flight as a great enabler of tourism in the state.
Abubakar, who said the tourism potentials in the state christened the â€˜Pearl of Tourismâ€™ cannot be fully tapped without seamless and steady air transport connectivity, noted that this connectivity gap can be significantly filled with Arik Airâ€™s foray into the state.
Arik Air Wednesday made the history of becoming the first airline to commence operations into Bauchi State.
Its Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft landed at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Belawa International Airport by 12.40pm in Bauchi from Lagos via Abuja.
The governor, who was onboard the return flight from Bauchi, said the state would partner the airline to develop the tourism sector of the state.
According to him, â€œThere is no way you can be able to develop tourism without having steady flights in the state and tourism is one of the three major areas of comparative advantage we have chosen for ourselves and government So outright the coming of Arik is a fantastic development in the right direction and we assure Arik that we will collaborate with it.â€
Arikâ€™s Associate Vice-President, Abuja and Regional Domestic North Hamzat Bukar said there will be great and rapid development in the route especially given its tourism advantage.
He said the airline had a synergy with the state government to showcase the stateâ€™s tourism.
â€œIn every business you look at the potentials. When we started Gombe, we started with few passengers today we have been there for nine years. The fact that Bauchi has opened up gives travellers from Jos, Maiduguri, Yobe and even Bauchi indigenes options. In the past you would travel an hour to Jos to connect Lagos from Bauchi,â€ he said.