Posted by Sade Williams
Nigeria’s fastest-growing airline, Air Peace made its inaugural flight from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos into the Akure Airport on Sunday, with a delighted crowd of Ondo State government officials, aviation regulators investors and other dignitaries giving the airline a rousing welcome in Akure.
On board the maiden Lagos-Akure flight, which touched down to a spectacular water salute from two trucks mounted by officers of the Fire Service Department of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Akure Airport, were the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, the carrier’s Ambassador, Kcee and other dignitaries.
Ondo State First Lady, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and the Deputy Governor, Mr. Agbola Ajayi led a mixed crowd of government officials and other dignitaries to receive the Boeing 737 aircraft with registration mark 5N-BQO at the Akure Airport.
Governor Akeredolu, who could not conceal his joy at Air Peace’s entry into the Akure-Lagos-Akure route, said his administration decided to partner with the airline to drive the economic development of the oil-producing state through air transportation.
Emphasising the benefits of partnering with the airline in the areas of tourism and investment, the governor said: “No doubt, we have an air link to Ondo from Lagos, it means a lot to Ondo State people. Our drive is for investment and a lot of our investors want to come in.”
He added: “We are starting with Lagos-Akure and Akure back to Lagos. We already have an airline running Akure-Abuja but it would not stop Air Peace if they find out that they can also do combined flight. It will be in our interest, but what we have now is Lagos-Akure, Akure-Lagos with Air Peace.”
He advised officials of the state government to take advantage of the new flight service to avoid kidnappers and other criminal elements, warning that his administration would not pay ransom to secure anybody’s release.
Air Peace, the governor revealed, was preferred among other airlines the state negotiated with.
“We discussed with many airlines, but those involved in the negotiations were able to report to me that Air Peace gave us the best in terms of their offer. The offer appears better than other airlines. And again, it is a growing airline. They have even promised us to deploy one of their expected new aircraft to this route,” Akeredolu said.
He praised the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema for supporting his administration’s effort to open up Ondo State to investors and investment.
On his part, Onyema assured that Air Peace was in Ondo State to collaborate with the Akeredolu administration to boost the economy of the state and power the development of the country through air transport.
“It is part of Air Peace’s drive to contribute to the unity and development of this country. So, you can see now, N10,000 for a one-way trip; it has never happened before. We decided to do this in order to assist Ondo State. Human and mineral resources abound in Ondo State. We want to help investors go into Akure and Ondo State. Aviation is a catalyst for economic development. It is part of our policy to give every part of this country a chance to develop. We are going into Akure to help them actualise their own economic development plan. Investors are already asking questions about the state. They are looking forward to going there.”
Also Speaking, Senior Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Development and Investment, Mr. Boye Oyewumi, said the administration was serious about making the state an investor destination in the country.