Air Peace on Monday launched inaugural Lagos-Makurdi flights to the delight of the governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom and indigenes.
The airline said in a statement that flying to Makurdi was in line with its route expansion drive.
It also stated that Air Peace is the only airline operating Lagos-Makurdi flights at the moment.
Ortom was on ground to receive the inaugural flight which departed the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos by 7:00 am via the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Makurdi.
Also present at the airport was the minister of special duties and former governor of the state, Mr. George Akume and the airport manager, Mrs. Comfort Ogbuagwu.
In his remarks, the governor commended the airline’s management for the opportunity to have commercial air transport to Benue State.
He said the development would boost the state’s economy.
He added that having commercial flights to the state would open it up for foreign direct investment (FDI) as the fear of travelling to the state by road was being removed completely.
“I particularly thank the Air Peace Chairman for accepting this partnership and we are hopeful this would be fruitful. It will also ease the travel burden of our people,” he said.
For his part, Akume, who was aboard the return flight to Abuja remarked that there had been several unsuccessful attempts in the past to ensure regular flights into Makurdi.
Meanwhile, the ground operations manager of Air Peace, Mr. Ayodeji Adeyemi, said the airline said would operate three weekly flights connecting passengers from Lagos and Abuja to Makurdi.
Adeyemi who represented the airlines chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema at the airport, described the flight as “a historic feat as no airline currently operates flights from Lagos and Abuja to Makurdi.”
He said the decision to operate to Makurdi was “borne out of our persisting original vision to interconnect various cities across Nigeria, thereby fostering unity and promoting impactful economic relations.”
The Makurdi route, according to him, had been on popular demand by Nigerians.
“As a socially sensitive and responsive airline, we’re constantly reviewing our route network vis-à-vis public needs while considering strategic ways of expanding it to provide immense value to Nigerians.”
He promised that the new route “will be optimally serviced, and Nigerians will benefit exceedingly.”
Adeyemi further stated that the newly launched route would crystallise in employment opportunities for the indigenes of the Benue State as the airline was primarily set up “to fill unemployment gaps in the country.”
He solicited for the continued support and cooperation of all relevant stakeholders for the airline to keep accomplishing the lofty feats.
The inaugural flight P47440 arrived at Makurdi Airport at 9:15am to a ceremonial water salute by officials of the Aerodrome Rescue and Firefighting unit of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).