The Asaba International Airport in Delta State has resumed commercial flight operations with the arrival of an Aero Contractors flight from Abuja, on Tuesday.
The flight, a Q300 Dash 8 with registration number 5N–BJO, which had on board the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, touched down at the Asaba airport at exactly 11.52a.m.
Aniagwu, described the commencement of flight operations by Aero Contractors as one of the rewards of the development efforts of the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
He said the arrival of the airline was a testimony that the investment made by the state government to upgrade facilities in the airport was well made, adding that there are prospects for other airlines to join and increase the flight options to and from Asaba.
“The arrival of Aero Contractors is a good omen for flight users in Asaba, because it will give air travellers more options. Good enough, we have more airlines that will be coming into this airport. Ibom Air is resuming flight in this airport soon, as we have always had AZMAN and Air Peace and now Aero. We are also looking forward to having Arik back to this airport.
“That means flyers and travellers who make use of this airport will have more opportunities, and you know the effect that that will have on the ticket fares, and so we are quite excited.
“I must also appreciate the good work by the Special Projects Director, Mr. Austin Ayemidejor, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the airport reopens,” the commissioner said.
In his remark, Ayemidejor said the state government had invested a lot to ensure compliance with prescribed regulatory protocols for the aviation industry in Nigeria, commending the governor for his commitment to the development of the airport.
He said: “The airport got a very satisfactory approval from the NCAA, and we must ensure that the airport continues to operate in line with laid down protocols and international best practices.”
Also, the Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State, George Okafor, on Tuesday commended the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led State Government of Dr Ifeanyi Okowa for the reopening of Asaba Airport for commercial flight operations.
Mr Okafor was among the passengers on board an Air Peace flight that touched down at the airport from Lagos following resumption of flights after the COVID-19 induced shutdown.
Others on board the flight include Senior Political Adviser to Governor Okowa, Funkekeme Solomon; Executive Assistant to the governor on Communications, Fred Latimore; and the Chairman Isoko North Local Government Council, Emmanuel Egbabor.
According to the APC chieftain, “the return of flight operations at the Asaba Airport is a very big relief to us especially those of us that often go to meetings in Abuja.
” We thank the Governor and the state government and everybody that is here today to ensure successful reopening of the airport”.
The pilot of the aircraft, Captain Omar Al-Talib, said the carrier was delighted to have returned to Asaba after its flight operations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He commended the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Agency (NCAA) and the Delta State Government for their efforts at reopening the airport, assuring that the airline will scale up its operations at the Asaba Airport.
Also speaking, Okowa’s chief political adviser, Mr Funkekeme, said the investments at the airport was yielding adequate results, and urged the airport authorities to ensure excellence in its operations.
“The investments in this airport has paid off with the upgrading of standards of the airport with a very high approval rating from the regulatory authorities”.
“We had a very smooth flight on board Air Peace from Lagos and we thank His Excellency the Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa for all he has done to ensure the reopening of this airport”.
“We know that this COVID-19 has affected our lifestyle but by the grace of God it will soon be a thing of the past, at the moment, we have to adapt to the new normal. I appeal to the airport authorities to ensure excellence in their operations so that more people will continue to patronise the airport”. he said.
Special Project Director, Asaba Airport, Austin Ayemidejor, assured that the facility has adhered to all COVID-19 safety protocols, assuring air travellers of the best flying experience from the airport.
“You know that Air Peace has been operating here on daily basis before the pandemic and now that they have come back, they have assured us of daily flight operations here in Asaba.
“My advice to air travellers from the airport is to always ensure they adhere strictly to safety protocols already put in place to ensure smooth operations at the Airport,” Ayemidejor said.