By George Okoh
Air Peace yesterday commenced commercial flights to Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Speaking during a ceremony to mark the commencement of the flights to the state, the Chairman of the airline, Chief Allen Onyeama, stated that the commencement of flights to Makurdi was part of the company’s original plan to connect cities within the country.
He said the company was thrilled to be the first airline to operate commercial flights to Makurdi.
The first flight to the state by the airline company took off from Abuja and arrived in Makurdi at about 9:45 a.m. yesterday.
Represented by the Operations Manager of the airline, Mr. Adeyemi Ayodeji, Onyeama said Makurdi flights would be either from Lagos or Abuja.
According to him, “For us at Air Peace, this is a historic feat, as no airline currently operates commercial flights from Lagos or Abuja to 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.
“Today, as we commenced flights to Makurdi from Lagos and Abuja, we are promising that this new route will be optimally serviced, and Nigerians will benefit exceedingly from it. We also pledged to work very harmoniously with all the stakeholders in the state, the aviation regulator, the airport administrator, and of course,the state government, to ensure maximum success.”
Onyema said the airline would also provide employment for the Benue people.
In his remarks, the state Governor, Samuel Ortom, said the commencement of flights to Makurdi would boost economic activities in the state as well as create employment for the citizens.
Ortom said: “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 in Benue State and will provide opportunity for greater impact and participation of our people.”
Speaking to journalists as one of the first passengers, the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, said it was a realisation of a long dream.
Akume commended Ortom for initiating the partnership with Air Peace and facilitating its take off.
He admitted that several attempts were made in the past to ensure regular flights to Makurdi, but were all futile.