By Wemimo Folorunso
The Igbo apex body Ohanaeze Ndigbo General Assembly Wordwide, has lauded the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano on the newly constructed cargo and passenger airport unveiled in Umueri, Anambra State on Friday describing it as a commendable development.
President General of the ethnic nationality group, Barrister Onuorah Basil Onyeachonam, said: “Chief Obiano has again done this great project to the glory of Anambra State, entire South East region and Nigeria as a whole.
In a statement issued in the early hours of Saturday, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s Director – General, Strategic Planning and Implementations, Ambassador Obizoba Chiemelu Tony, commended the President on the laudable achievement.
Recalled that three demonstration flights on Friday landed at the newly constructed Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri.
Also, test flights landed to the excitement of the people of the state.
The airport, which was constructed within a space of 15 months is expecting both cargo and passenger traffic in the next couple of months.
The facility, awaiting commercial services, already has the runway, apron, control tower, fire infrastructure, among other critical infrastructure in place, except for the terminal that is near completion.
Speaking at the ceremony to welcome the flights, Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, said the multi-billion naira project was strategic for the economy of Anambra, the South East region, and of Nigeria at large.
He said the airport project is the most audacious and “revolutionary” project ever embarked on by his administration and nearly completed in a 15-month record time.
He said: “We have risen above the global gloom and doom (of Covid-19 Pandemic) to bring this dream to reality. Anambra did not borrow a kobo to build this airport. We began this administration with the plan to become the first choice in investment destination and trade hub”.
“This airport fulfills that dream today, because it is difficult to create an international economic corridor without an airport. Very soon, our cargo and passenger services, both local and international, will make us one of the busiest airports in the country.”
Meanwhile, Air Peace has become the first airline to make flight to the new Anambra State airport. At about 2:40p.m. Friday, an Air Peace Boeing 737 aircraft made the inaugural landing, throwing the waiting audience into a frenzy. About 15 minutes later, another Air Peace Embraer 145 aircraft touched down, to a traditional water salute reception. As the audience were departing, a private jet also landed at the airport,”
In his remarks, Chairman of Air Peace airline, Allen Onyema, said the landmark facility has the longest runway in the country, spanning 3.7 kilometers, with the capacity to receive the biggest air planes in the world.
He also thanked the Federal Government for the airport’s approvals, describing it as one of the fastest airports to get a test-flight approval.
Onyema said: “What we have here is the widest runway ever and could land a Boeing 777 and an Airbus 380. This is the first time an airport would be doing a test-run with a Boeing 737. It used to be very small planes before. I decided to bring in two planes to show the quality of airport here. I can tell you that it is a game-changer,” he added.