The Chairman, United Nigeria Airline, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo has said that airlines routes expansion and additional aircraft acquisition will be done in phases.
This just as the airline also assured of employing more Nigeria with the gradual increase of their operations within and outside the country in line with their big dreams.
Speaking in Lagos, Dr. Okonkwo said, their medium term plan is to consolidate on their domestic operations while eyeing the actualization of flying into the West African region.
He said, the responses the airline has been getting from the market was heartwarming, adding that in the next couple of months, it would add another aircraft to its fleet.
“We are hoping that we should increase our air fleet very soon we are looking at the next couple of months 2-3 months, a lot of plans are already in the way, we have been happy so far with the responses we have been getting from the market”.
Dr. Okonkwo emphasized that the strong vision of the airline is to fly to unite which means safety in all their operations.
” We are glad today, it is operational, it is offering services to thousands of people in Nigeria”.
On the choice of the aircraft type ERJ145, the United Nigeria Airline boss said, it was the best for them and convenient to build routes and give passengers the quality service they deserve.
“We had a thorough due diligence before we embarked on embraced, the fuel saving capacity is an advantage, the passenger load which is 50 is an advantage, we thought as a new airline it might take us a while while to fill up the aircraft, so we felt that with a fuel effective fuel utilization with not too huge passenger load, we might be able to manage our good and bad days”.
He stated that, the airline has assembled some of the best brains with the requisite experiences in the industry to run the airline, stressing that he was proud of the team with the successes so far recorded in the past 8 weeks of operations.
“We are very proud of our team. For us team work is very important in what we are doing, staff welfare is important, family spirit is important and we are bringing all our experiences we have in all our areas of endeavours into this aviation business.
I seek your support to help us be where we need to be for the service to mankind to the glory of God”.
In the area of employment, Dr. Okonkwo said, employment opportunities have been created in the different areas of operations, adding that, with the commencement of flight, they have engaged a whole lot of people with some of them up to 50 to 60% having their first experience in aviation after undergoing the required mandatory trainings.
” You know is very strict, there must be training, there must be indoctrination, there must be training, there must be standard they have to meet, for us this number of people are those who have benefited in the opportunities we have created.
“More people are in the pipeline as we expand our routes, open our operational base and that will go on and on, the more aircraft we have, the more people that will be employed”, he added.
Giving a breakdown of their passenger traffic in the past two months of operations, the Chief Operating Officer, COO, Mazi Osita Okonkwo said, during the period, they carried 25,000 passengers and currently the passenger load is 3,200 per week.
“Within four weeks, we have done 25,000 passengers already during that period, currently we are doing about 3,200 passengers every week”.
He reechoed that, they would not be in a hurry in in increasing their capacity to do things but rather it would be gradually, organically and systematically.
“We have four aircraft, we could have started all the four aircraft the same day but we are an organization that is very, very deep rooted into learning and into knowing our limitations and growing into our experiences, so step by step we are creating the necessary systems, processes institutions and organs that will help us achieve the target we have set for ourselves”.