The Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has described the landing of the first cargo airline at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Nigeria, as a historic occasion that will raise the profile of the airport and boost the economy of the state and the entire South-East.
Governor Ugwuanyi spoke on Tuesday while addressing a crowd comprising dignitaries and some excited indigenes of the state who had converged on the airport to witness the landing of the Ethiopian Airline Boeing 757 cargo plane.
He explained that the momentous event was consistent with the objectives of the first ever Enugu State Investment Summit held last April where he had declared that “Enugu State is ready for business”. The event, he noted, “is undoubtedly yet another evidence in support of the declaration”.
“Three years ago, precisely on the 24th of August, 2013,” the governor told the jubilant crowd, “we welcomed the first ever international flight to Enugu operated by the Ethiopian Airlines.
According to him, the new development means that people from the region can fly to all parts of the world and have their bulk cargo delivered to them via the Enugu airport. “It will save costs, enhance convenience and safety in importation of goods,” he said, adding that it will promote employment and help raise the international profile of the airport, Enugu and the entire region.
Governor Ugwuanyi commended the Federal Government and the Ethiopian Airline operators for making the age-long dream of the entire South-East region come to fruition, urging investors and the business community to take full advantage of this new opportunity to expand their businesses and develop the region and the country at large.
“We reassure the company of the unremitting goodwill of our people and of our continued support, partnership and cooperation,” he added.
Thanking his hosts for the warm reception, the captain of the airline, Captain Williams Williams, praised the Akanu Ibiam International Airport’s lovely environment, adding that it was a nice experience because their landing was smooth.
They commended the federal and Enugu State governments for the kind gesture which, they noted, would go a long way to strenghten the cordial relationship between Nigeria and the rest of the world as well as expand economic ties.
Also speaking at the event, the Traffic and Sales Manager of the airline, Mr. Biniam Addisu, said: “we expect to get from the federal government the kind of support we have been getting from the Enugu State government. We are comfortable with the aviation equipment installed here, and hopefully in a few months time the international terminal will become fully operational. And with that, things will get better. Enugu Airport is one of the major hubs.”