The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel on Wednesday flagged off the state-owned airline christened Ibom Air at a ceremony at the Obong Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo.

The ceremony attracted the senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who performed the official unveiling of the aircraft.

In his remarks, Emmanuel described the airline was a monumental achievement of his administration.

Emmanuel said the aircraft were only six years old and constituted the newest and modern fleet of the CFWNL Canadian aircraft.

He said Akwa Ibom was the only state currently running a state-owned airline in the country.

The governor assured Akwa Ibom people that Ibom Air would be run as a business.

He said the airline would operate on profitable routes and would give preference to Akwa Ibom people.

“The launching of Ibom Air is a monumental achievement in Akwa Ibom state and indeed Africa.

“The journey to achieve Ibom Airline started in 2016 and today, it is a reality.

“If we are to search the minds of people, this day would have been frustrated but we give glory to God for making this day a reality.

“I want to charge my people that we can achieve a lot, if we come together.

“I want to reassure the former governor, Obong Victor Attah that very soon the MRO will be a place that will maintain fleets of aircraft across the country.

“We are running Ibom Air as a business, paying particular attention to Akwa Ibom people,” he said.

The governor said that government had strived to focus on development of the economy on land, air and water.

He added that so far, the state government had constructed over 1,000 kilometres of roads across the state.

The governor said that one other aircraft would arrive on Friday in addition to the already unveiled ones.

Emmanuel further said plans for the Ibom Deep Seaport operations would commence before the expiration of his second term in 2023.

In his remarks, Saraki commended Emmanuel’s leadership qualities saying the governor had been able to create an environment viable for development.

“Today, we celebrate leadership, we celebrate the good things that can come out of Nigeria; we celebrate the audacity of hope.

“The governor has created an environment for people to have jobs. We are proud of you in the PDP family that you are one of us,” said Saraki.

Also speaking, the chairman of Ibom Air, Mr. Idongesit Nkanga, said that Ibom Air would go international before the end of Governor Emmanuel’s second term.

He said that the airline was one of the vehicles to drive Akwa Ibom economy.

He said when in full operation, the airline would create employment for 300 people.

In his goodwill message, the former governor of the state, Obong Victor Attah, said the airline would bring economic growth and development to the state.