From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The newly-built international airport in Yenogoa, the Bayelsa state capital offers tremendous opportunity for Nigerian leading carrier, Air Peace to contribute to the growth and development of the young state by ways of accelerating movement of persons into and out of the state to any part of the country, the airline management has assured.
The airport, built wholly by the state government, received the airline, the biggest carrier in West Africa sub-region when it became the first commercial carrier to fly into the new aerodrome.
The aircraft, an Embraer 50-seater 145 jet took off from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at about 2.50 p.m. and landed on the 3.5-kilometre runway of the Bayelsa International Airport at about 3.35 p. m on Thursday.
Speaking at a ceremony at the Bayelsa Airport moments after Air Peace flew into the facility, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer; Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide said the airport would be a vehicle for the industrial and economic development of the state.
According to her “We have no doubt that the Bayelsa International Airport will provide us an opportunity to support the effort of the Bayelsa State Government to develop the state. It is indeed a new dawn for the people and residents of Bayelsa State. We urge the flying public and the business community to take advantage of this wonderful facility to break new grounds and realise their business and leisure interests”,
Olajide added that “Air Peace is an airline of many firsts. We are indeed honoured and delighted to make another history as the first commercial airline to operate into the Bayelsa Airport. We commend His Excellency, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson for this great project aimed at opening Bayelsa State up for rapid industrial and economic development. Since we commenced commercial flight operations over four years ago, Air Peace has greatly contributed to the development of cities and states we operate into.
The flight, operated by Capt. Crosby Otobo and his crew was welcomed by a crowd of overjoyed indigenes and residents of Bayelsa, including the state Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson and top government officials.
Men of the Fire Service Department also honoured the flight by positioning their trucks on both sides of the runway and sprayed arcs of water to salute the aircraft.
The airline have over the years score first in the Nigeria aviation by been the first to acquire and register a Boeing 777 in Nigeria as well as the first carrier in West Africa to order the Boeing 737 MAX 8.