Indigenous carrier, Ibom Air, has deployed its Airbus 220-300 aircraft to serve the Lagos-Port Harcourt-Lagos route that opened yesterday.
The Airbus, which is a boost to the airline’s fleet capacity, will also drive competition on one of the busiest routes in the country.
The Rivers State government, at the colourful reception of the maiden flight into Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omagwa, Rivers State, said Ibom’s “grand entry” was a breath of fresh air for local aviation and economy of the region.
Rivers’ Commissioner of Transportation, Osima Ginah, said the Port Harcourt route is a strategic corridor for passenger traffic, yet underserved by operating carriers.
“We are, therefore, delighted to welcome Ibom Air. Ibom will actually increase commercial activities in Rivers State because it is going to make the business economy thrive. Most times when you get to the airport other airlines are not available, but with Ibom Air coming to Rivers, you know you have an alternative.
“Port Harcourt is a business hub and I want to assure Ibom Air that we have enough passengers for them to do business. It is a welcome development. It is going to boost the economy of the state because more people will come to Rivers and this will ease transportation,” Gina said.
Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Ibom Air, George Uriesi, said the deployment of the A220-300 for Port Harcourt was apt because the state has the capacity.
Uriesi said the inaugural flight to Port Harcourt had 90 per cent load capacity, which is impressive for the new entrant. He said: “Port Harcourt has the capacity. The first flight was about 90 per cent full, and the return leg is the same too. We expected that Port Harcourt would provide the kind of load factor to justify the use of this aircraft type and we need it to create more capacity for Port Harcourt passengers.”
Uriesi added that the airline was keenly looking at further expansion, though dependent on the traffic demand.
“We have four or five targets in our expansion drive. But the decision on where we go is always based on numbers (traffic). So, it is very likely that one of the destinations will be a northern city,” he said.Follow us on social media