Imo State-owned airline, Imo Air operated by Dana Air yesterday, made its maiden flight from Lagos and landed at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri.
The aircraft with 140-seating capacity flew with the first set of passengers, including the State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, members of the state executive council and state indigenes on board.
Speaking at the airport, Governor Rochas Okorocha said it has been his dream and sincere desire to position Imo State on the fast lane of development, prosperity and growth, adding that he won’t rest on his oars until that dream was realised.
Okorocha also said that Imo was not affected by the much-talked about recession in the country because some people might wonder why the state should dabble into airline business in time of recession explaining that the state has cleared arrears of pension and has paid salaries up to December 2016.
“This is a happy moment in the state. The aim of going into the air business is because I want to drive traffic to Imo State as Imo is genuinely becoming the fastest developing city outside Abuja and Lagos. For this, there is the need for more airlines to cushion the effects of high traffic coming to the state.
“Imo government does not have an operating air license. So we needed to partner with a good and qualified airline operator hence, the choice of Dana Air because of its proven track record and sincerity of purpose. The Imo Air will be operated by Dana and we have a contract of ten years with them. We have five of this aircraft and the first one has just landed and four other ones will start operation in few weeks time,” Okorocha added.
Speaking further, Okorocha noted that “The International cargo airport will soon kick-start to supplement the efforts of Imo Air. In our pursuit of making Imo better, Imo International Cargo Airport will soon commence operations. Work is going on smoothly and by April God willing, the fastest international cargo plane will arrive Imo State.”