The Akwa Ibom State government is set to commission the multi-billion naira maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, in January 2023.
The state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who announced this in Uyo on Tuesday during the visit of his Edo State, counterpart, Mr. Godwin Obaseki also disclosed that the facility valued N13,278,952,980.00 ($30 million) would be opened alongside a state-of-the-art terminal building at the airport.
Obaseki was the special guest when Ibom Air took delivery of two wet leased A320-200 Airbus aircraft from a European aircraft leasing company, GetJet Airlines UAB (operating as GETJET).
Emmanuel said investors were already coming to convince the government to lease the MRO.
However, he said he would not consider the lease option because the facility is capable of bringing foreign exchange to the state.
“I invest in areas where we can have returns on our investments. Right now without blinking an eye I can make over $30 million with this MRO if we decide to sell but we are not selling; we will make foreign exchange from this investment.
“Airbus is on us to come and lease our MRO for all their regional flights but we are not selling.
“We are going to open up this place (MRO facility) from January next year for commercial activities and we are going to earn in dollars.
“Our terminal building is world class in Africa. Our MRO is world class. If you find one today in the entire Gulf of Guinea, tell me I will break down this one and construct another.
“Look at our MRO, what you are seeing here can take two 747 aircraft and can also take eight CRJ aircraft, the type we are flying for servicing at the same time.
“This is the only MRO today in this part of the world and these facilities are not built with local currency but we are building this MRO with naira that does not have value.
In his remarks, Obaseki described Akwa Ibom as a “flagship state in the country” for its efforts to invest and achieve significant strides in the aviation sector.
Ibom Air is always fully booked. Let me thank you on behalf of Nigerians,’’ Obaseki said.
Also speaking, the managing director, Ibom Airlines Ltd., Mr. Mfon Udom announced plans to begin regional flights from 2023.
Udom said the new addition to the fleet would expand its carrying capacity and boost employment opportunities in the state by 40 per cent.
“With this new capacity coming on board, we are delighted to inform our passengers that we have increased our offerings, providing more frequencies for their convenience.
“The Uyo-Lagos and Uyo-Abuja routes now have three frequencies each every weekday, while our Lagos-Abuja passengers will have seven frequencies to choose from both ways, every week day,’’ he said.